It was a busy year in northeast Johnson County. As we put 2013 behind us, we asked mayors and city administrators from some of our municipalities to weigh in on what they saw as the most important event, project, or improvement to hit their turf. Here’s what they had to say.
No surprise here, says city administrator Quinn Bennion. He and Mayor Ron Shaffer agree it was all about Mission Valley/Mission Chateau. The high level of community attention and the amount of city resources allocated to the application and process push it to the top. But it’s also important because of the decision on the future use of the property. And there is more to come in 2014.
Mayor Laura McConwell picked capital projects as the big events In Mission. She noted the Martway street project that included a new transit center and stops. That is closely followed, she says, by ongoing projects that will wrap up in 2014 like the new pool and Johnson Drive reconstruction with its storm water and streetscape changes.
For Mayor Joel Marquardt it was a change in the way things get done. He points to a shift in the governing body process, specifically putting together the budget with community input (for which they won an award) while facing the pending loss of the Walmart sales tax.
The visioning process that started in 2013 and sought community input to prioritize city services and capital expenditures topped Mayor Jerry Wiley’s list. That brought to the forefront issues that will guide the council in the next couple of years: storm water, city hall location, public works and the city pool.
On a per capita basis, Westwood may have had more significant events than anyplace in the northeast. Mayor John Yé and City Clerk Fred Sherman point to the redevelopment surge along the 47th and Mission corridor where a three-city overlay district has seen the addition of the Walmart Neighborhood Market, Taco Republic and the approval for Lulu’s Asian Bistro. Add to that the planned Woodside Village development on Rainbow with residential and retail coming, the renovations of the pools at Woodside, the pending purchase of Westwood Christian Church and record year in construction permits for a huge year of change.
Changes along Shawnee Mission Parkway included new investments into the KU Cancer Center and the Karbank building renovations (in Mission Woods). Midwest Transplant Network also is expanding on 47th Place. Mayor Yé also notes a new relationship between the city and the school district regarding Westwood View Elementary School – not to mention a new police chief and city clerk this year.
And, we should mention that all of Westwood Hills is now on the National Register of Historic Places.