Lenexa residents like the course the city is on. And they think leaders should build on recent momentum to make continual small improvements to improve quality of life in the city in the coming decades.
That was the takeaway message from the group responsible for shepherding the months-long Vision 2040 planning process as it presented its findings to the city council on Tuesday.
Among the topline findings from the process, Vision 2040 found that people in Lenexa want to be able age in place, enjoy strong neighborhoods and integrated transportation systems, and continue building on the city’s economy.
Vision 2040 builds on the ideas and successes of Vision 2020 and Vision 2030 and provides a framework for achieving what the community wants Lenexa to become. The steering committee — led by city staff co-chairs Sean McLaughlin and Logan Wagler and community co-chairs Stacy Knipp and Mike Stein — presented the finished document to the council Tuesday night.
Vision 2020, created in 1997, brought City Center. Vision 2030, created in 2008, brought the Lenexa Rec Center. What big idea could come from Vision 2040 was a challenge at first, committee members said. City leaders nonetheless applauded their efforts because data collected from the visioning project told them that the community likes Lenexa the way it is and hopes to keep the momentum.
The five themes that emerged from the visioning document are:
Healthy people: Vision for Lenexa to be a community where people, throughout their lifespans, are safe, physically active and improve their mental and physical health by spending time outdoors and with each other. Doing so by:
- Creating neighborhood nodes.
- Developing healthy corridors.
- Creating intergenerational communities.
- Connecting people to nature and open spaces.
- Building community partnerships.
Inviting places: A vision for Lenexa to be a community full of places with beauty, social offerings and openness that draw people to them. Doing so by:
- Creating welcoming gateways.
- Creating inspiring places that are flexible, connected and sustainable.
- Activating public places, commercial spaces and neighborhoods.
Vibrant neighborhoods: A vision for Lenexa to have vibrant neighborhoods that offer a variety of housing types, sizes and prices with opportunities for shopping and support services nearby as well as convenient public facilities such as quality roads, pedestrian connections, parks and schools. Doing so by:
- Building neighborhoods with a sense of community.
- Preserving existing housing to protect and enhance the character of neighborhoods.
- Supporting aging in place.
- Cultivating attainably priced housing.
Integrated infrastructure & transportation: Vision for Lenexa to have seamless transportation and connected infrastructure systems managed to enhance quality and performance while reducing resource consumption, waste and overall costs. Doing so by:
- Connecting to the regional transportation system.
- Creating a seamless transportation system.
- Managing assets to proactively address community needs.
- Enhancing the transportation system performance.
- Investing in infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements.
Thriving economy: Vision for Lenexa to be a place thriving with economic activity, a variety of business types and innovative people that create jobs and sustainable businesses. Doing so by:
- Diversifying the city’s economy.
- Attracting innovation.
- Reimagining retail, commercial and industrial areas.
- Growing already strong business sectors.
- Maintaining the city’s reputation as a development-friendly community.
“I know you struggled initially, trying to come up with that big idea that was City Center or recreation,” Mayor Michael Boehm told the committee. “But I appreciate that you accepted that challenge to look and look and look for what that might be. But I think ultimately what came out of it was the realization that we’re doing a pretty damn good job right now, and most people are very happy.
“Once you accepted that there is no big idea right now, you were able to move on, and I think the five planks that you put forward tonight… are inclusive. I think that’s important that it’s not too rigid, but it allows us to adapt.”