Come next year, the Overland Park City Council will be missing a familiar face.
After serving on the city’s governing body for more than 15 years, Councilmember Paul Lyons has announced he will be stepping down from his seat following this fall’s general election.
Lyons’ political career began in his neighborhood
- After moving to Overland Park in 1994, Lyons and his wife took on the opportunity to be neighborhood leaders for Glenwood Estates as part of the city’s Neighborhood Conservation Program.
- During his time as a neighborhood leader, Lyons said he helped advocate and organize the installment of sidewalks and street lights in his neighborhood.
- “That process got me familiar with our city council and our city staff, so I started to think that I’d run for council,” Lyons said.
Lyons said he’s ready to retire
- He hopes someone younger will fill his seat who can provide a different perspective from his own.
- Also, he noted that the cost to run a campaign has steadily increased since he first joined the city council, which was another deciding factor in his retirement.
- “I could easily run for another term because I enjoy the job so much… but there gets to be a time where I think 16 years is enough,” he said.
He’s seen several notable improvements in his time
- Lyons pointed out that in a 2021 citywide survey, 92% of residents who responded indicated they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the overall quality of life in Overland Park.
- “We get recognitions all the time about being the number one or two city, so that’s what I’m most proud about,” he said.
- In addition to being pleased with the city’s reputation, Lyons said he is proud of improvements the city council has made to the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, downtown Overland Park and Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead during his time on the city council.
Lyons said aging infrastructure is still challenging the city
- Lyons said he anticipates the city will still face this challenge, as well as growing pains as Overland Park continues to expand further south, but he believes it is in a good position to be successful in the future.
- “The last thing I want Overland Park to do is become a stagnant city,” Lyons said. “I really think that we have a good chance this next election to have some pretty decent people elected to the council that are forward thinking and looking to continue to grow the city.”
- When reflecting over his time on council, Lyons noted that he wished the city would have worked toward making more improvements to its public transit system.
Two candidates have filed for Lyons’ seat
- Drew Mitrisin, a transportation policy consultant at Burns and McDonnell, is vying to fill Lyons’ seat and has been endorsed by Melissa Cheatham, the other current Ward 2 councilmember.
- The other candidate who has filed so far is lawyer Jameia Haines, who Lyons announced he’s backing to fill his seat.
- Ward 2 is in a north-central area of the city, bounded by Quivira Road and I-35 to the west, West 87th Street to the north, Nall to West 95th Street and south along Mission Road to the east, and parts of I-435 and West 103rd and West 99th streets to the south. Click here to see a map.
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