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Vision 2040: More connections in Lenexa

A photo of “Body Politic,” one of Lenexa’s pieces of public art, graces the cover of the Vision 2040 report.
A photo of “Body Politic,” one of Lenexa’s pieces of public art, graces the cover of the Vision 2040 report. Courtesy photo

Lenexa’s Vision 2040 report completed

Lenexa officials have a lot to chew on with the completion of the city’s Vision 2040 report, which outlines ways that Lenexa can move forward over the next two decades.

Capping months of study and dialogue, officials unveiled the report to the public last month. Many recommendations focus on connections – connecting people with each other, with nature and with the places they want and need to go. And connecting Lenexa and its people with organizations that could help the city reach its goals.

The report focuses on five key themes: healthy people, inviting places, vibrant neighborhoods, integrated infrastructure and transportation, and a thriving economy.

“Lenexa is a community that is THRIVING, CONNECTED and ALIVE!” the report said. “But the world as we know it today will not exist 20+ years in the future. To maintain what we love about Lenexa, action is needed.”

Among the recommendations:

▪ Promote walking by concentrating new commercial development in nodes and near major intersections, to prevent strip development along major streets. Gathering spots, community events and other strategies could give each node its own identity.

▪ Make streets hospitable to bikers, walkers and transit users as well as automobiles, and expand the system of trails and sidewalks.

▪ Connect Old Town, the community center and surrounding areas with a pedestrian crossing over the railroad tracks.

▪ Consider higher design standards for apartments and other housing complexes, so they retain value and remain attractive.

▪ Reduce the cost of entry-level housing and encourage a variety of housing styles and prices.

The executive summary alone exceeds 20 pages. Find that and the full report at lenexa.com/vision2040.

Health department expands clinic hours

As of this week, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s health clinics in Mission and Olathe began offering new hours for walk-in services – such as immunizations, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy tests, physicals and tuberculosis tests.

The new schedule:

▪ Olathe Clinic, 11875 S. Sunset Drive: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

▪ Mission Clinic, 6000 Lamar Ave.: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Health officials said more walk-in services can now be offered at both locations, and more appointment times will be available for clients who receive prenatal services from the county.

Open garage doors invite thieves, city warns

Overland Park officials are urging residents to keep their garage doors closed and cars locked, even when they’re home. Thieves have stolen items while homeowners are in their backyards or after they have gone into their houses for a few minutes.

Most commonly, the crooks take alcohol from the garage refrigerator, golf clubs, GPS devices, electronics, wallets and purses.

“The latest trend involves thieves stealing vehicles from an open garage door because the keys were left in the ignition,” the city said in a news release. “Further, thieves are getting into unlocked cars and using electronic garage door openers to access homes.”

County may help you prevent sewer backups

After recent heavy rains and resulting basement sewer backups, Johnson County officials are reminding residents of a program that provides one-time funding for eligible households that install a backup prevention device or make plumbing modifications to reduce the risk of future backups.

For information or to apply for the voluntary Backup Prevention Program (BUPP), go to jocogov.org/dept/wastewater/engineering/backup-prevention or call 913-715-8554.

Next: A pavilion in R Park

With the new “See Red Run!” sculpture now in place, Roeland Park residents have seen the end of citizen-assisted improvements to R Park.

Park boosters set a $50,000 goal to help the city build a 40-person pavilion in R Park as well. As they closed in on that goal last month, the group created a new fund-raiser in conjunction with the city’s 68th birthday this year.

Households and businesses are being asked to donate $68 to help with effort. In return, donors will be invited to a birthday party and group photo on July 2.

Make checks payable to Roeland Park Community Foundation and put “R Park Pavilion” in the memo line. Take or mail the check to Roeland Park City Hall, 4600 W. 51st St.

Grant will advance literacy training

With a $7,000 grant, Johnson County Community College will develop digital literacy curricula for adults who are learning the basic skills of reading, writing and math and preparing to take a high school equivalency exam. The money came this spring from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Blue Valley student submits winning essay

By writing about Garmin co-founder Gary Burrell, a Blue Valley North High School student has captured one of three top awards in the second annual Kansas Business Hall of Fame high school essay contest.

Jordin MacKenzie and the other top winners – from Wellington and Liberal – each received $100.

The contest was open to Kansas students in grades nine through 12, including home-schooled students. The teens studied Hall of Fame inductees and wrote about one who inspired them.

The Kansas Business Hall of Fame is housed at Emporia State University.

Bats and bees and birds, oh my!

The Olathe Pollinator Prairie, created on a formerly contaminated site in Olathe, will host a free event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 21 where adults and children can learn about species that help plants reproduce through pollination.

Activities will include a caterpillar petting zoo, arts and crafts, coloring books and building native bee houses, as well as information on bats, caterpillars, butterflies, birds of prey and native bees vs. honey bees.

The address is 320 S. Blake St., which once was home to Chemical Commodities Inc. For complete details on the Pollinator Prairie Wonders of Discovery event, go to johnson.k-state.edu.

Insurance group gives Shawnee top fire rating

Shawnee has earned the highest rating for its fire service after an evaluation by Insurance Services Office Inc. The city will move from Class 2 to Class 1 at the beginning of August.

A city’s Public Protection Classification rating plays an important role when residents and businesses try to insure their property, the city said. Most insurers use PPC information when deciding which businesses to cover, how much coverage to offer and/or what prices to charge.

The Shawnee Fire Department worked with WaterOne and the Johnson County Emergency Management & Communications to meet the standards for a 1 rating. WaterOne is building a new elevated storage tank on Johnson Drive to make sure there is enough water and pressure throughout the city.

“This rating puts Shawnee in the top 1 percent of all fire departments in the United States for ISO rating,” said Fire Chief John Mattox. “Shawnee is now one of only seven communities in the entire state of Kansas with an ISO Classification of 1.”

Six of the seven top-ranked departments are in Johnson County, Mattox said. The others are Leawood, Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park and Consolidated Fire District No. 2, which serves the northeast part of the county.

Policy debaters take top national prize

Shawnee Mission East High School students Luke Bledsoe and Jet Semrick earned first place in policy debate at this year’s National Catholic Forensics League Grand National Tournament.

The team demonstrated “extreme dedication and perseverance” to achieve at this level of competition, Coach Trey Witt said.

“They have had an outstanding year, but any time they lose, they do their most to absorb the critiques of their judges and learn from losses,” Witt said. “Being coachable is an essential factor to this type of success.”

The competition, featuring a variety of public speaking and performing events, drew about 3,600 students from across the county to compete in Milwaukee. Although the league is organized through Catholic high schools, students from public and other private schools may compete as well.

Roeland Park now owns aquatic center

As of June 1, Roeland Park took over ownership of its aquatic center from the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. To mark the transition, the city has scheduled a ribbon cutting followed by a free day of swimming for all on June 15 at the aquatic center, 4843 Rosewood Drive.

The ribbon cutting begins at 11:30 a.m.

Roeland Park undertook a study of its pool facilities after the county announced that it would no contribute to pool operations after its contract expired in May. Other challenges were aging pool infrastructure and a storm's destruction of a dome that had allowed year-round swimming.

The city has not replaced the dome. Meanwhile, the county is continuing to manage the pool this summer.

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