Overland Park & Leawood

Leawood council’s goals for the city include dealing with Canada Geese

The Leawood City Council has zeroed in on about a dozen possible short- and long-term goals to explore for the city, including dealing with the large population of Canada Geese.

The council met in a special work session on Monday, a week before Mayor Peggy Dunn delivers her state of the city speech.

Sustainability, storm water best practices, and the demand for senior activities were among the issues discussed during the session. Mayor Dunn acknowledged that some items, like providing an activity center with senior facilities, might remain on the long-term wish list for quite a while due to budget constraints and the city’s shifting priorities.

By the end of the work session, councilors had whittled their discussion down to about 12 objectives.

The council agreed that researching how to reduce the population of Canada Geese should be a priority. Leawood is among several cities in the Kansas City area facing this problem.

The geese typically defecate every seven minutes, resulting in an accumulation of waste in areas such as parks, playgrounds, golf courses, and public areas. That waste can carry harmful bacteria such as E.coli. Geese can also be territorial and violent while nesting.

“They have attacked our police officers,” Mayor Dunn said. “These geese are vicious.”

Councilman Chuck Sipple of Ward 3 also garnered agreement from council members on his suggestion to install gateway signage around the city. Right now there is no standard for signage that indicates when visitors have crossed city lines and entered Leawood.

“I would like us to come up with a consistent and special sign that says ‘you are entering Leawood’ and have it in several places both coming from the west and the east.” Sipple said.

In what she described as a positive, fun project, Ward 4 councilwoman Julie Cain suggested Leawood join other cities that have resurrected painting fire hydrants with colorful and whimsical designs to beautify neighborhoods. The water department will be consulted to see if an adopt-a-hydrant program could be feasible.

This was the first goal planning session for Lisa Harrison of Ward 3 and Dr. Steven Kaster of Ward 2. Both joined the council last year.

Councilwoman Harrison presented several ideas about bike lanes, recycling in the city, and installing a permanent restroom facility along Tomahawk Creek Trail. Replacing the portable restrooms with a permanent facility is something the council wants to accomplish, but flooding in the area has prevented a restroom facility from coming to fruition.

City administrator Scott Lambers updated the council on the status of previous goals. A draft of the 135th Street Community Plan will be ready to review in March. The plan will include updated development assumptions, the best sustainable landscaping ideas, and cultural amenities for development along the high-traffic 135th Street corridor. Ongoing work includes creating a policy for recognizing donations and sponsorships within the city’s parks.

The work session took place after an abbreviated special meeting in which the council voted to reschedule a public hearing. about the creation of a Community Improvement District for Camelot Court Shopping Center. That topic is set for discussion at the February 20 council meeting.

Mayor Dunn will deliver the annual State of the City address at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday,at The Lodge at Ironwoods.