Lenexa City Council candidates on the issues: New justice center in central Lenexa

new Lenexa courthouse

In August, we asked our readers about the issues you wanted to hear the candidates running for Lenexa City Council address. Based on your feedback, we developed a five-item questionnaire touching on the most important issues to patrons of the district.

Each day this week, we have published the candidates’ responses to one of five questions. Today, we are publishing candidates’ responses to the final question:

With plans underway for the new Lenexa Justice Center on Prairie Star Parkway, what do you hope to see for the site of the police station and courthouse on 87th Street Parkway?

Below are the answers the Post received from the candidates on this issue:

Ward 3

Melanie Arroyo

Residents I have spoken with are very concerned about what will happen to that site. Repurposing & redeveloping this site will be a key challenge for that part of Lenexa. Lenexans I’ve spoken with have suggested everything from a new community center to a swimming pool, a library to a park, to a farmer’s market or even a row of shops with apartments on top to provide vibrancy to local streets. I absolutely love hearing these creative ideas for revitalizing a key part of our city!

I remain very open-minded and encouraged about the possibilities for that site. In my conversations with city leaders, it appears that our most favorable option would be a fully equipped fire station, as we currently do not have a fire station in the northeast corner of the city. I’ve shared this information while canvassing, and many voters welcome this addition to our community to promote our safety.

Corey Hunt (incumbent)

I have been able to spend a great deal of time over the past two years sharing and receiving information with Ward 3 residents on this topic. I have held two Town Hall meetings at the police station and residents have participated in several feedback opportunities to collect resident input on this issue. I can assure you, resident input will continue to be a top priority throughout this process. The one question residents are concerned with the most is what will happen to the existing building and site? Will a strip mall go in? What will happen to my property value? How much more traffic will there be on 87th?

I support investing in the current site with critical city infrastructure and the building of Fire House #6 to support the Lenexa northeast corridor. The process moving forward is one where it has taken some time to understand exactly what we can do with the forty year-old building and site. We know the police station portion of the building is really hard to re-purpose usefully. We are looking at what can be used effectively and then look at the facility as a whole to understand what costs are associated with modernizing the portion(s) of the building we want to remain. Currently the site is home to the city’s Information Technology Department and the Employee Wellness Center. In addition, the city has been operating an “expeditionary” fire station at the site for most of the last year to better understand how the building can be used by the Fire Department and what would be needed to operate a Fire Station at full capacity all year-long. Recently I voted to authorize the purchase of a temporary building that will be constructed on the north side of the site to properly house fire apparatus (fire truck) through the winter months to enable the Lenexa Fire Department to operate at a higher capacity from this site.

To me the site is one of Lenexa’s gems, a gateway in to the city from the east and a site that still exudes a feeling of safety, confidence, well-being and pride to Lenexans. These feelings are exceptionally strong for residents of Ward 3. I am excited to work with residents and city staff to ensure we get this right and I consider this issue to be one of my top priorities.

Ward 4

Craig Denny

The city has included funds in the FY2022 – 2026 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to conduct a study to determine how best to utilize the old City Hall facility. Funds for this study are shown to be expended in FY 2022 and 2023. The adopted CIP also contains funds to construct covered storage for a fire truck in the parking lot behind the old city hall.

Lenexa is presently staging fire equipment at the old city hall site. The Community Center/Senior Center renovation will require relocation of the adjacent Med Act facility. It makes sense to me to renovate the old city hall & police facility to accommodate multiple Fire and Med-Act services under one roof, which would provide Fire and EMS services closer to the northeast part of Lenexa than at present.

Scott Callaway

Did not respond.

Read these candidates’ responses to questions about high-density multi-family developments, plans for historic Old Town, flooding and climate change, and long-term goals for the city.