Gardner is on the Move! (Message from Mayor Shute)
Soon, we will announce the date for Gardner's State of the City Address, where the mayor will talk about many of the city's successes of 2019 and current 2020 projects. See a sneak peek of those accomplishments below, some of which were highlighted in the Gardner News' Progress Edition.
(A message from Mayor Steve Shute)
Gardner is on the move!
If I had to describe the city’s progress in 2019 in one word, it would be colossal. We have seen near-record numbers in new residential construction, totaling $31M in value. We opened the doors to several new businesses, such as the Hampton Inn, Excelligence Learning Corporation, First Point Urgent Care, Mid America Bank, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and many more. We drew tens of thousands of visitors to our city through our special events and sporting activities, and we’ve expanded our city’s physical footprint and positioned our city for further strategic growth through numerous voluntary annexations totaling over 900 acres. That indeed is progress!
Another area of progress was in our moves regarding our city’s infrastructure. The year marked the successful completion of the Gardner Justice Center. Thanks to our residents voting to support the issuance of General Obligation Bonds, we were able to finance a much-needed facility to house our law enforcement and municipal court services, benefiting 50-plus staff members and the visitors that use our amenities.
We improved pedestrian access and increased safety with the construction of the crosswalk at the 183rd Street and Mulberry Street intersection. The crossing includes a pedestrian-activated Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, which provides a high-visibility warning by using LEDs in an irregular flashing pattern to alert drivers that the crosswalk is in use.
In 2019, we also celebrated the completion of the first phase of the grant-funded Kill Creek Trail Project that will provide greater connectivity of parks, trails, and neighborhoods from 151st Street south to 175th Street. The next phase of the project will begin this year.
Other infrastructure projects underway include the I-35 and Gardner Road Interchange Project, construction along Santa Fe/175th Street from Poplar Street to Waverly Road, and the Hillsdale Water Plant Expansion. Renovation of the Gardner Golf Course is also nearly completed, and we plan to hold a grand reopening of the 18-hole course, where we’ll introduce our new Disc Golf Course for the back nine.
And Gardner, this is just the beginning of seeing our vision, planning, and hard work come to fruition!
There are so many more successes of 2019 to share as well as what’s coming in 2020. Between a new Price Chopper development at Moonlight and Main, a new Olathe Health campus and mixed-use projects (as well as badly-needed retail and restaurants) on the south side of town, and the continued improvements to the Gardner Road interchange, as well as construction on West Santa Fe to a new mixed-use development at Santa Fe and Waverly Road, and the construction of a $200M, 262-acre mixed-use development project on the east side of I-35 – we will be seeing a lot of activity and people coming to our community.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not recognize two great leadership promotions that took place last year. Former Police Chief Jim Pruetting assumed the role of City Administrator after the bittersweet retirement of former Interim City Administrator and 30-year employee Laura Gourley. And, Jay Belcher took the helm of the Police Department as our new police chief. Both individuals have exceeded expectations, and we’re fortunate to have them in their respective roles.
Overall, I could not be more proud of the collaborative accomplishments of the Gardner City Council, city staff, and the many partner organizations that make our community great. Together, we continue to be a city where developers want to build, residents can raise a family, and everyone can thrive. I am excitedly looking forward to another prosperous year!