Roeland Park puts hold on process for bringing public art piece to Roe and Johnson Drive intersection

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By Holly Cook

Plans for a public art display at the intersection of Johnson Drive and Roe Boulevard will remain on hold, Roeland Park City councilors determined Monday. Councilors discussed the benefits of delaying the art selection process until other development plans for the intersection are more concrete.

In October Roeland Park councilors approved the development of Commerce Bank and an eight-bed hospital at the intersection. The plans require 1 percent of the area remain reserved for an art display.

Councilor Michael Poppa said he expected Roe Boulevard plans to be far enough along within the next year to start evaluating art concepts.

“We just want to make sure everything is cohesive throughout,” Poppa said.

There are several notable changes expected for Roe within the next five years. Directly across from the planned Commerce Bank and micro-hospital site is the pending Mission Gateway project. Roeland Park is also planning a $9 million reconstruction of Roe from I-35 to Johnson Drive in 2020.

City administrator Keith Moody said Roeland Park could use the timing of the projects to its advantage and coordinate to “end up with a gateway and art exhibit that is exceptional.”

Councilor Teresa Kelly agreed the art display discussion should be rolled into Roe Boulevard planning.

“We are talking about the same corner that is going to be affected by a major road project and this new development,” Kelly said.

Kelly suggested the council evaluate all of the city’s art during the planning process and determine what needs to be refurbished, moved or replaced.

Councilor Becky Fast voiced concerns the intersection would remain blank for too long and said she would like to start moving forward on planning the art project.

Mayor Joel Marquardt said he would request members from the art advisory committee attend the next city council workshop to answer any questions councilors may have. Councilors agreed to delay discussion until that time.