Continuing momentum — including revitalization of downtown as well as the potential community center on the horizon — is key to the success of Shawnee, Mayor Michelle Distler said in her fourth State of the City address.
During her address Thursday, which was hosted by the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce, Distler argued that much important progress was currently underway, including new road construction, the redevelopment of downtown and the Nieman Road corridor, the opening of a fourth fire station on the west side of Shawnee and numerous public works projects.
For instance, the city last year resurfaced nearly 50 lane miles, replaced 7,200 feet of curb and 4,000 feet of sidewalk, and completed $2.5 million dollars of stormwater pipe repairs, totaling over 11,000 feet. The public works department got a round of applause when Distler thanked staff for keeping the roads clear in all of the winter weather over the past few months. Other city-related news Distler highlighted included:
- The police department added seven new officers and is building a new K-9 training course
- The fire department will launch its first Citizen Fire Academy in April
Meanwhile, the city is considering a potential community center; Shawnee voters get to weigh in on the matter in a mail-in ballot in May.
Besides the public investment, private development projects across the city are underway, the mayor added. In 2018, total construction valuation was more than $101 million; over the past few years, it’s topped more than $268 million.
“Westbrooke Green will start to take shape later this year at 75th and Quivira,” Distler said. “It will feature luxury apartments, new shopping and dining options, a small amphitheater and plenty of green space for trails and parks.”
A few other highlights:
- Monticello Library opened in August near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Hilltop, among several new businesses sprouting up on the west side of the city
- Downtown is undergoing a transformation, with revitalization of Aztec Theater, the opening of Transport Brewery next door and another new microbrewery underway
- Kenneth Estates, a new residential development on the former site of renowned golf club maker Kenneth Smith, is in the works
- Other residential developments are cropping up, including Bristol Highlands, Veterans Park and Calamar Ridge Senior Living
“We’re excited to see businesses and developments like these choosing Shawnee,” Distler said. “They will breathe new life into many parts of our city and draw in even more visitors to see what we have to offer. We imagine they’ll soon see, as we do, that there’s no place like home.”
With all of the new investment in the city, Distler said Shawnee should not compete with other cities but should instead do what’s best for the city.
Distler thanked the city staff for their efforts to provide public services and engage with the community. She recognized Vicki Charlesworth and Paul Chaffee, who both retired after 30 years of service to the city. The mayor also paid a nod toward new city leadership as Nolan Sunderman, Caitlin Gard and Stephen Powell.
The mayor also thanked the many businesses, families and city staff who continue to make Shawnee “the place we are proud to call home.”
“Every resident and business in Shawnee deserves to build from the prosperity of this great city,” Distler said. “I can assure you, as mayor, I will continue to work hard day in and day out to make sure this vision benefits you, the most important part of our community.”