As we look ahead to 2023, let’s take time to reflect on 2022, another busy year in our community.
Here are just a few highlights of the many programs, events and services the City provided this year. Visit the links in each description to learn more about any of these initiatives.
The Overland Park Fire Department merged with Johnson County Fire District No. 2 on Jan. 1, 2022, expanding and streamlining fire protection for south Overland Park and Johnson County.
The City updated property maintenance codes in February, relaxing exterior trash can storage requirements so that residents can store trash cans close to their home without additional screening requirements.
In February we also opened a backyard chicken pilot program, enabling residents the ability to have up to three chickens on many lots in the city, by right.
In the spring, we wrapped up a citywide LED streetlight conversion, updating more than 12,000 bulbs in all residential and thoroughfare streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs and saving the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs.
The City worked with Bird to bring a scooter and e-bike sharing program to Overland Park, providing residents and visitors another option to get around in March.
You now have an easy way to express interest in participating in a resident board, commission or committee, thanks to an online application that promotes participation in City government, launched in April.
Overland Park was home to nine public art Parade of Heart sculptures in June, giving residents and visitors a chance to get outside and enjoy finding the artwork across the city.
The City opened a dropoff site for storm debris on June 12, following a tornado that touched down along 95th Street, putting branches and limbs in many residents’ yards and damaging some property. No one was hurt in this storm.
The City of Overland Park once again hosted a major Star Spangled Spectacular event this year, featuring food trucks, live entertainment, games and a fireworks show for July 4.
In July, we officially opened the Overland Park Crisis Action Team office, to provide more access trauma-informed mental health services through the Police Department.
Also in July, the Infrastructure Advisory Group offered its recommendations for the long-term sustainability of the City’s infrastructure systems. City staff are now working to implement elements of this plan over the next several years.
In August, we welcomed new City Manager Lori Curtis Luther, who previously served as the city manager for the City of Beloit, Wis. Luther is responsible for managing the city’s day-to-day operations, as well as implementing policies set by the Governing Body, Overland Park’s mayor and city council.
The Overland Park Farmers’ Market was recognized as the Best Farmers Market in the U.S. from more than 7,000 participating farmers’ markets nationwide through American Farmland Trust in August.
August and September also brought the start of a community engagement process for the Farmers’ Market Improvement Project, which involved meetings, surveys, and discussions with market vendors, shoppers, Downtown OP merchants and neighbors, and gave the community an opportunity to weigh in on future plans for the market.
In September, Overland Park was again named a Money Magazine Best Place to Live for our great schools, low cost of living, plenty of activities and more.
We also celebrated the opening of the 91st Street Trail providing an important trail connection in North Overland Park, from Strang Park on the west side of the city to Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village.
The Fall Festival returned to Downtown Overland Park in September, bringing dozens of performers, musicians and food vendors, plus an artisan fair and more to the district.
In October, we celebrated the reopening of Strang Park after nearly two years of construction. The updated park provides an inclusive playground, family-friendly restrooms, gaming areas, historical markers and more to the area of 87th and Farley.
October also brought the kickoff for Framework OP, the City’s Comprehensive Plan update. This process gives residents, visitors and others an opportunity to weigh in on the future of development, land use, housing, population, parks and recreation, community services, and economic trends for the next 20 or more years.
As of November, the City issued more than $1.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act small business relief funding to Overland Park businesses, including local restaurants, lawn care companies, music schools and doctor’s offices.
The City held several recycling events throughout the year, including the second Recycling Extravaganza of the year in November. There were also neighborhood recycling programs, debris drop off sites and other services throughout the year to help residents get rid of large items and yard waste.
The Overland Park Police Department launched a new Police Transparency webpage, which includes summaries of how the Overland Park Police Department approaches a variety of topics, including anti-biased policing efforts, de-escalation and response to resistance, department budget, training processes, and more.
The Overland Park City Council formally approved a set of strategic goals for 2023, which are the result of a goal-setting workshop in October, where all members of the Governing Body shared their priorities for the community.