Lenexa council accepts recommendation for $6.1 million investment in Old Town community, senior centers

Conceptual plans for upgrades to the Lenexa community and senior centers call for demolishing the senior center and moving senior programming under the same roof.

Lenexa city leaders have accepted recommendations to revamp the community and senior centers in Old Town. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to pay for it.

Conceptual plans for upgrading the community and senior centers call for demolishing the senior center and bringing both facilities under one roof.

Danielle Dulin, Lenexa assistant to the city manager

Danielle Dulin, assistant to the city manager, said the city staff and SFS Architecture have been adjusting the plan based on feedback from the city council as well as seniors who use the facilities.

Here are some of the main revisions made to the project plan:

  • Double number of ADA accessible parking spots
  • Improve restrooms with ADA accessibility
  • More programming/classroom space and adequate storage space
  • No steps — all senior activities on one level
  • Improve kitchen space for Meals on Wheels program
  • Kitchen has easy access for meal pick-up and is in close proximity to dining area
  • Larger multipurpose room (could accommodate more than 100)
  • Parking close proximity to entrance

Some input from seniors that was not part of the conceptual plan but may be considered if/when the city moves forward with the project:

  • Non-slip floor covering
  • Comfortable chairs
  • Upgraded audiovisual equipment
  • Lockable cabinets in kitchen
  • Upgraded/larger kitchen appliances
  • Homey/welcoming atmosphere
  • Additional bathroom in multipurpose room
  • Canopy over entrance

These requests were not met in the conceptual design:

  • Stand alone building (staff noted the purpose of the study was to put the community and senior centers under one roof)
  • Dedicated space for table tennis
  • Creation of underground storm shelter
  • Soundproof glass for train noise
  • Removal of ramp (instead, it will be widened to make it easier for use. Staff noted the ramp is necessary for accessibility in the community center)

Estimates for a revised conceptual plan show that bringing the community and senior centers under one roof and making necessary upgrades would cost $3 million. Making upgrades to the site, parking and nearby Scouting Park would cost an additional $3.1 million for a total project cost of $6.1 million.

Here is a rendering of the conceptual plan:

Although the Lenexa council unanimously approved the study and recommendations from the revised conceptual plan, the city has not yet earmarked any funds or set a timeline for the project.

Several councilmembers voiced their support for the project and appreciated the changes.

“I’m really thrilled to see this; I think it’s going to be a great addition,” said Councilmember Tom Nolte. “It seems like the seniors in our community enjoy getting together. So I’m glad that we have facilities that they can do that.”

Councilmember Steve Lemons asked if the design could incorporate restrooms with no doors at the entrances because they can create accessibility issues for people with walkers or wheelchairs.

Lenexa Councilmember Andy Huckaba

City staff noted that Johnson County Med-Act, which occupies a portion of the community center, is in talks with the city to end its lease on a schedule convenient for both the city and the agency. Med-Act renewed its lease in January for the next three years. The agency would likely vacate the space sometime before the city would move forward with the project

“This is a much stronger plan than what we saw initially,” said Councilmember Andy Huckaba, noting that the plan ties in well with the city’s visioning process for Old Town. “Being able to take that space in Med-Act is huge and makes this much more palatable in many ways — the windows, the light, the movement throughout the building are tremendous. I think people will be really happy with this.

“I think the investment here is very wise and I think it is needed in that part of town. And we know that when we make investments, that other people do too.”

Huckaba noted that he hopes the design will look more homey and less sterile than what is seen in the renderings.

Mayor Michael Boehm said he hopes that the city could move forward with the project all at once to reduce the impact of construction in the area.

The city council will consider funding options for the project in October, during discussions on other capital improvement projects.