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Plans for $3 million Kansas Ave streetscape construction project in downtown Olathe firm up

An exact timeline on starting the improvements project was not provided, but it's estimated it could be wrapped up by August.

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After delays for other downtown Olathe developments over the last two years, the Kansas Avenue streetscape construction project is expected to get underway sometime this year. 

The plan was actually envisioned back in 2015 with plans to build in 2017, but city engineer Nate Baldwin said the improvements got put on the backburner to accommodate the construction of the new county courthouse and the demolition of the courthouse followed by the completion of the Johnson County Public Square. 

“We're ready to take the next step to enhance the charm and serviceability of the downtown Olathe area,” Baldwin told the City Council on Tuesday. 


These improvements come as part of a multiyear effort in the downtown area to attract new development and reinvestment. Recently, the city has welcomed new housing options, new businesses and began construction on a new downtown branch of the Olathe Public Library on top of the county’s projects in the area. 

When the work gets going, Baldwin said it will deal with the traditional street preservation, but there’s more to it than that. It will also include milling, resurfacing, landscaping, decorative hardscaping, repairs and traffic signal replacements at Loula Street. Removable bollards will also be installed, which would allow the city to close Kansas Avenue during events downtown. 

There are safety improvements included, like ADA compliant sidewalk ramps, separation of pedestrian traffic and a dedicated bike track. The addition of these alternative transportation pathways is expected to further enhance the trail access downtown Olathe already has, Baldwin said. He also said there’s plans to add wayward signs in the area that will help guide alternative transportation to and from the trails. 

The work will be concentrated on Kansas Avenue from south Santa Fe Street to Cedar Street — where previous work stopped coming from the other direction in a 2018 project — with additional projects west at Park Street, Loula Street and Cedar Street. All of this is outlined in the Downtown Active Transportation Master Plan and the city's Complete Streets policy guide, both adopted by the City Council in 2020. 

A construction contract will be formalized and adopted by the council sometime in the spring. An exact timeline on starting the project was not provided, but it's estimated it could be wrapped up by August  — in time for Old Settlers in September. In all, the project will cost about $3.1 million, supported by $400,000 from the city’s Street Excise Tax and money from the Street Preservation Program funds for years 2021 and 2022.

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