Last year was one marked by a series of exciting new business developments and projects in Shawnee — and also considerable change at city hall, Mayor Michelle Distler told a group of city residents and businesspeople Thursday.
At the city’s annual State of the City address, the third Distler has delivered, she highlighted a wave of ribbon cuttings and new projects that are set to revitalize some of the city’s most established pockets.
From the opening of the revamped Shawnee 18 theatre, which includes the B&B Live auditorium that now host Music Theatre Kansas City’s training and performance program, where the State of the City event was held, to the proposal to wholly renew the Westbrooke shopping area at 75th Street and Quivira, Shawnee has seen interest in bringing life back to aging commercial centers.
Among the other news of note from 2017, the city’s Nieman Now infrastructure project, which will address stormwater issues and improve bike and pedestrian access in the area around the historic downtown, should also help spur business growth, she said. And years of work by a group of western Shawnee homeowners to establish a quiet zone along the BNSF railway near their homes finally paid off, with the group holding a celebration in December.
And while there’s much positive news to report from 2017, Distler also noted a string of personnel changes both among the elected officials, and city staff.
In November, Shawnee voters elected three new members of the city council, with Matthew Zimmerman, Justin Adrian and Lindsey Constance all seated in January.
City staff also saw a major change, when longtime city manager Carol Gonzales announced in October she was leaving to take a job with the Mid-American Regional Council. Assistant city manager Vicki Charlesworth took over as interim city manager in November, and the city has begun a search for new full time city manager.
Distler’s presentation began with the following video, highlighting the growth and amenities that draw people to the city.