Real Estate, Developer, Nature Preserver
Liberty Memorial High School
John has been a realtor and developer in Douglas County for more than 50 years. Along with Bob Billings he was a founding stockholder of Alvamar. He helped to develop Alvamar, Deerfield, Orchards, Wakarusa View Estates, Sunflower Park, and Shadow Ridge in Eudora.
He contributed land for the Viola & Conrad McGrew Nature Area and the Pat Dawson Billings Nature Area and the Kanza Southwind Nature Preserve. His past and recent leadership activities include serving as Director of Douglas County Bank, Past President of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence Board of Realtors, Lawrence Insurance Board, Lawrence Humane Society.
Among his many awards are distinguished service awards from Kansas Parks and Recreation and Lawrence Board of Realtors.
But these days, McGrew sells ideas more than he does property. He's the founder and chairman of the local nonprofit Outside for a Better Inside. It works to get people -particularly youths - outside more often in the hopes of preventing health problems in the future.
Like a man who has been through countless open houses, he has a selling point about the program to stick in your mind.
"Make the computer a tool, not a lifestyle," he says.
Over the last year he's been promoting a plan to use school district ground just east of Lawrence near Kansas Highway 10 and Noria Road as the site of an eventual wellness campus that could include walking trails, outdoor classrooms, a "miracle field" for youths with disabilities, and other features. The school board balked at the use of the site, but McGrew still hopes some place can be found in the community for a project devoted to outdoor activities and wellness.