People who live or work near downtown Overland Park are invited to a meeting July 19 to hear about potential plans for Santa Fe Commons Park, a 3.8-acre expanse of green space at 8045 Santa Fe Drive.
The city has budgeted $3 million to improve the underused park, including a $1 million in private donation. An Omaha-based consulting firm, RDG Planning and Design, is working with Overland Park on conceptual plans.
A different consultant has recommended moving the Overland Park Farmers’ Market to the park from 7950 Marty St., so RDG is developing concepts with and without a farmers’ market. Those attending a community meeting last month preferred green space over a relocated market.
The July 19 meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty St.
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Merriam to close stretch of Johnson Drive
Starting July 20, Johnson Drive will close completely for two weeks between the Turkey Creek Bridge and the BNSF Railway track as work proceeds on the thoroughfare in Merriam.
The city said the two-week full closure will save time and money and allow the work to be done more safely.
Crews will replace the deteriorating roadway, curbs and sidewalks. All businesses north and south of Johnson Drive will remain open.
The project, to be completed in mid-October, covers the stretch of Johnson Drive from Kessler Lane to the west city limits. On Aug. 9, the city expects to restrict eastbound traffic to one lane from Merriam Drive to the western boundary.
Visit merriam.org/johnsondrive for details and detour information.
Demolition makes way for Mission apartments
The city of Mission began demolition July 5 on an office building at 6201 Johnson Drive, which will be replaced by a luxury apartment development known as Mission Trails.
The site is just east of Lamar Avenue. The project includes a five-story apartment building with a pool and 200 one-and two-bedroom apartments. On the ground floor, there will be a gathering space, salon and bike repair station that tenants can use. A restaurant and outdoor courtyard will be available to the public.
Construction is expected to start in early fall.
Meet the sculptor July 21
International sculptor Jorge Blanco will be in Roeland Park on July 21 to discuss the piece he designed for the city’s R Park.
Pie and ice cream will be served during the free event, which will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Drive.
At the gathering, people are encouraged to participate in a “Name the Sculpture” contest. The winning name will be chosen by Blanco and the Citizens Sculpture Initiative for R Park. The park is on the site of the former Roeland Park School, 5535 Juniper Drive.
Blue Valley to issue student computers
Starting in 2019, the Blue Valley School District will provide technology devices to students in middle and high school. It’s part of the district’s Blended Learning concept, which aims to incorporate technology and face-to-face learning in classrooms.
Middle school students will start to receive district-provided Google Chromebooks in early 2019, and high school students will start to receive MacBook Airs. Because eighth-graders and high school seniors will be leaving their buildings so soon after the rollout, those students will not receive devices of their own then, but will have access to school technology.
The full distribution will take place the following fall.
The district has been exploring this idea for many months. During the 2017-18 school year, nearly 80 secondary classrooms piloted Google Chromebooks, iPad Pros and MacBook Airs as part of a Blended Learning Impact Study. The school board approved the initiative on June 28.
“We are reimagining what skills and knowledge students will need to be successful in the future,” said Kelly Ott, director of curriculum, instruction and innovation. “Technology is one of those skills — how to use it to connect, create and innovate. The Impact Study provided us an opportunity to take a purposeful and proactive approach, helping us make an informed decision that is fiscally responsible, digitally safe, and most importantly, positively impacts learning.”
For more information, visit www.bluevalleyk12.org/BlendedLearning.
New conductor for Overland Park Orchestra
Shokhrukh “Shah” Sadikov is the new leader of the Overland Park Orchestra, starting with the 2018-2019 season that revs up this fall.
With a formal title of music director and conductor, Sadikov will succeed James Funkhouser, who stepped down last spring after 37 years.
A native of Uzbekistan, Sadikov will keep his job as assistant professor of violin and viola at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., where he also is music director of the Hays Symphony Orchestra. He co-founded and became the CEO and conductor of the non-profit arts organization NAVO, which provides programming for underserved communities in the Midwest.
Founded in 1973, the Overland Park Orchestra is a group of volunteer musicians sponsored in part by the city of Overland Park.
Dog park named for former Spring Hill fire chief
The dog park at the new Veterans Park in Spring Hill will be named the Melvin Murry Dog Park in honor of the city’s longtime fire chief, who died in 2014. The dog park is planned to feature fire-themed items.
Spring Hill already has a Melvin Murry Park in the Woodland Ridge subdivision, but the Parks Advisory Board agreed to move the name to the dog park because of its more prominent location. The board plans to discuss renaming the ponds in the Woodland Ridge subdivision, which were formerly known as Melvin Murry Park.
‘Addams Family’ onstage outdoors
“The Addams Family” is the next production at Theatre in the Park, starting this weekend.
The show starts at 8:30 p.m. July 20-22 and July 25-28 at the venue in Shawnee Mission Park. The plot revolves around daughter Wednesday Addams and her “normal” boyfriend , who is coming to dinner with his parents.
The theater entrance is at 7710 Renner Road in Shawnee. Gates open at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $6 for youth. Children 3 and under are admitted free, but need a ticket. Buy tickets online at www.theatreinthepark.org or after 6:30 p.m. at the site before each performance.