By Roxie Hammill
Lenexans will be invited this year to get out their crystal balls and gaze into the future, then bring what they see to the city’s long-range visioning effort.
The city will kick off Vision 2040 on Feb. 21, when Mayor Mike Boehm calls for volunteers during his state of the city speech. The process will include about a year’s worth of steering committee meetings, task forces and community forums, with hopes that the city’s latest vision will be approved this time next year.
The result will be a document with long-term goals the city should strive for. Lenexa has done this twice before, in 1997 for Vision 2020 and in 2008 for Vision 2030. One of the notable goals of the first effort was the creation of a new “city center” close to the geographical middle of Lenexa. The City Center development near 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard is now well underway, with the new city hall, recreation center and Lenexa Public Market all open, and work commenced on a new Johnson County Library branch.
City visioning plans are not as formal as their comprehensive plans and ordinances that guide development. Typically they are started to get a sense of the direction the city should take in the future. They usually don’t include rules binding future city councils. Overland Park recently embarked on its own visioning plan. Lenexa does its visioning on a regular basis every ten years.
The process will be quicker this time – one year rather than 14 or 15 months it took for the two previous plans. City staffers said they planned to also make use of technology and social media.
“We’re hoping just to build enthusiasm and get people excited about shaping Lenexa’s future,” said Sean McLaughlin of the city’s legal department.
Council members at a recent committee meeting said they hoped for a lot of input, especially from young people. “This is going to be their city as well as ours,” said council member Mandy Stuke. “They bring a whole different perspective.”
A community informational forum is planned for April, with a steering committee to be selected in May.