In State of the City address, Gerlach outlines plans for neighborhood stabilization, public safety initiatives

The city has increased police patrols in the northern part of the city as part of its efforts to improve police visibility and public safety.
The city has increased police patrols in the northern part of the city as part of its efforts to improve police visibility and public safety.

Arguing that “quality of place” was vital to keeping Overland Park’s neighborhoods strong, Mayor Carl Gerlach on Wednesday said a new rental registration and inspection program the city will launch in July is aimed at ensuring properties are kept in good condition in an effort to make investment in the city more appealing.

In his annual State of the City address delivered at the Overland Park Convention Center, Gerlach said the city would be adding four new code compliance officers to “help balance the need for maintaining property in our neighborhoods with the rights of property owners.”

“We want that prospective young professional looking for a home to be inspired by what he sees and to invest in Overland Park,” he said.

The city aims to have all residential properties registered with the city and scheduled for exterior inspections within a two year period.

The addition of new code officers isn’t the only investment the city is making in more man-power to back up priorities identified by the city council. Overland Park is in the process of adding 10 new positions to its police department to bolster its public safety efforts. They have also recently re-established 24-hour use of the Myron Scafe Justice Center at 85th Street and Antioch Road to improve patrol of the surrounding areas.

“Our greater presence means higher visibility and improved community safety,” Gerlach said.

Among other highlights in his address, Gerlach pointed to the city’s continued investment in its park space, including the opening of the new spray park on the old Roe Pool site last year. The project cost more than $2.5 million, and included the addition of a new shelter and improved trails.

“It is a tremendous community success, and a great investment in those surrounding neighborhoods,” Gerlach said. “It’s an example of creating a quality of place. In fact, a common question from spray park visitors is: When will Overland Park expand the concept to other parts of the city?”

Gerlach said that while survey recent results show that Overland Park residents by-and-large are extremely happy with the city — more than 95 percent of respondents said they thought Overland Park had a high quality of life, was a good place to live, and was a good place to raise children — he and the members of the city council were constantly looking for ways to prepare the city for future success.

“What will it take to get Overland Park to be even better, to be that desirable, have-to-live-there, visit-and-work there community, the place of the future?” he said.

The splash park on the former Roe Pool site.
The splash park on the former Roe Pool site.