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Shawnee explains Nieman Road delays

These little Superheroes, and others, raised money on July 28 for abused and neglected children served by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Johnson and Wyandotte counties. The CASA SuperHero Kids’ Fun Run, held outside the Scheels store on 135th Street in Overland Park, also featured a costume contest and family activities.
These little Superheroes, and others, raised money on July 28 for abused and neglected children served by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Johnson and Wyandotte counties. The CASA SuperHero Kids’ Fun Run, held outside the Scheels store on 135th Street in Overland Park, also featured a costume contest and family activities.

Shawnee explains Nieman Road delays

The city of Shawnee acknowledges that a key part of the Nieman Now! project, the overhaul of Nieman Road between Shawnee Mission Parkway and 55th Street, is taking way longer than expected.

“We thought it would be a one-year process for the City to work with KCPL to get the power lines buried underground. Instead, it took two years,” Shawnee officials said on the city’s website. “The contractor working on Nieman Road itself could not start until that process was finished. There were several weather delays because of all the snow we got this past winter and the large amount of rain we’ve seen so far this year.”

A brochure published in early 2017 predicted that everything would be done by last fall, but the city now hopes to complete much of the work on Nieman Road by the end of this year. Streetscape, landscaping and all other amenities are to be in place next spring.

The overall initiative, aimed at revitalizing Shawnee’s downtown, included four stormwater projects and work on Flint Street, which have been completed. The city is narrowing Nieman into a three-lane road with a bike and pedestrian path on one side and a sidewalk on the other. Trees, benches, signs and upgraded street lights also are part of the design.

District offers new path for adults to finish high school

Adults who live in the Shawnee Mission School District have a new online opportunity to earn their high school diploma.

It’s called Project Finish, and enrollment is taking place this month.

Once Project Finish students have completed all graduation requirements, they will be awarded a Shawnee Mission School District diploma. Starting on Sept. 1, students will have access to the online program and coursework 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Enrollment sessions will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 14, 20, 22, 26 and 29 at Horizons High School, 5900 Lamar Ave. in Mission. A nominal fee will be charged to cover the cost of supplies and a background check.

To enroll in Project Finish, a student must be at least 19 years old and provide proof of identity and residence, along with official transcripts of all previous high school coursework.

Project Finish students will be able to use the computer lab at Horizons High School to complete their coursework if needed. The lab will be staffed with an instructor from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Any student needing tutoring or coursework support can get assistance from the Project Finish teacher during the designated hours

For more information, contact Paul Colwell, Horizons High School principal, at 913-993-9505 or

Merriam dedicates sculpture

At a pair of events on Aug. 6, the city of Merriam dedicated its newest piece of public art: a sculpture titled “Hmmm…” that’s now part of Waterfall Park.

The dedication took place during the annual National Night Out event to promote community safety, which was paired with a Party in YOUR Park celebration.

Colorado artist Joshua Wiener, who attended the event, has described his piece as a “playful exploration of place-making and identity.” It features a stone caterpillar observing an iron butterfly placed atop a cairn, or a stack of rocks. The caterpillar, mistaking the cairn for another caterpillar, sees its future as a butterfly.

The cairn salutes early settlement in the Merriam area, the city said, and the caterpillar and butterfly represent its transformation over time.

Bridge project closes intersection

The Kansas Department of Transportation hopes to finish bridge repairs by December at U.S. 69 and Interstate 35 in Lenexa. But until then, southbound drivers can’t use the exit ramp from I-35 to southbound U.S. 69.

Crews will replace the bridge deck, rehabilitate the bridge and reconstruct the pavement on U.S. 69 at cost of $3.7 million.

While the exit is closed, the detour will take drivers to eastbound Interstate 435 and then to U.S. 69. There will also be intermittent road closures on I-35 in both directions.

Watch for traffic delays at K-10 and K-7

Repairs have begun on both the northbound and southbound bridges on Kansas 7 over Kansas 10 in the Lenexa/Olathe area.

The Kansas Department of Transportation said traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions until the project is finished, likely by mid-November. Some ramps will be closed as well.

Court deal nets $750 in school supplies

The Shawnee Municipal Court collected $750 worth of school supplies during a two-week period in which offenders could settle part of their fines and fees by providing supplies.

Altogether, defendants got $1,500 in credit toward their court obligations. The supplies will be given to local schools.

Trails to close for several days

Weather permitting, asphalt trails in Heritage Park and the Coffee Creek Streamway Park will be closed Aug. 19-22 for sealcoating, which will waterproof and help preserve the pavement. The trails are in Olathe and south Overland Park.

In addition to the 3.5 miles of the Coffee Creek Trail, the project will involve about three miles of trail around the lake at Heritage Park, the path that connects to Olathe’s trail at 159th Street and Pflumm Road, and about 1.5 miles of trail connecting the ballfield parking lot to Shelter #7.

Heritage Park is at 16050 Pflumm Road in Olathe. The western end of the Coffee Creek Trail can be accessed near Heritage Park Shelters #9 and #10. The Coffee Creek Trail winds east to 169th Street and Switzer Road in Overland Park.

Chalk to spread cheer to OP

On Aug. 20, Overland Park invites people to write uplifting messages and images on sidewalks with chalk provided by the city.

Free chalk will be available Aug. 19-20 at these locations:

Downtown Overland Park Partnership, 7315 W. 79th St.

Museum at Prairiefire, 5801 W. 135th St.

Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, 11902 Lowell Ave.

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, 13800 Switzer Road.

Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave.

Overland Park Chamber of Commerce, 9001 W. 110th St.

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, 8909 W. 179th St.

Myron E. Scafe Building, 8500 Antioch Road.

“Chalk the Walk” messages can be shared on social media with the tag #ChalktheWalkOP.

Sylvester Powell center to close for two weeks

The city of Mission will close the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center from Aug. 19 through Labor Day, Sept. 2, for major maintenance that includes painting, resurfacing of hardwood floors, carpet installation and piping repair.

It will reopen at 5:30 a.m. Sept. 3.

During the closure, the Mission Family Aquatic Center will be open to community center members from 5:30 a.m. to noon for lap swimming and aquatics classes.