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Old Town Lenexa

Old Town is the original town site of Lenexa and was founded in 1869 by Octave Chanute, a civil engineer who purchased 41.5 acres near the railroad from Charles A. Bradshaw. This area features traditional mixed-use development and includes businesses, homes and churches. The historic business district still stands at Pflumm Road and Santa Fe Trail Drive. A rail line owned by BNSF Railway runs through Old Town. It played a part in the growth of Lenexa and continues to influence land use in the area.

Wayside horn system will reduce train noise in Old Town

Progress made on Old Town Study goals

Contact Information

Magi Tilton 
Planning and Development Services Manager 
mtilton@lenexa.com
913.477.7712


A New Look at Old Town

In 2015, we received a grant to work on an action plan that highlights redevelopment opportunities in Old Town while building on the area's history and character. The project was funded with $41,000 from the Mid-America Regional Council's Planning Sustainable Places program, as well as a city match of $20,500.

Project goals included:

  • District appearance: Enhance the district’s identity and sense of place by establishing meaningful district boundaries, updated design guidelines, and improved gateways from the 95th Street corridor.

  • Connectivity: Improve connectivity throughout the district and surrounding neighborhoods with enhanced pedestrian amenities, improved railroad crossings, integrated bicycle facilities, and interpretive features to reflect the area’s unique history.

  • Destination/events: Strengthen and expand the district’s role as a destination for community festivals and events through public-private partnerships, improved district branding, and coordinated promotions.

An Advisory Committee made up of property owners, residents, business representatives, Lenexa Planning Commission members and city staff provided input as part of the public participation process.


Final recommendations

The Lenexa City Council accepted the "A New Look at Old Town" final plan in July 2016. Ultimately, it will provide direction for future enhancement of the area. The document includes a site concept for Old Town and a list of recommendations that involve private property owners, merchants and the city. Each of these partners has a role to play in ensuring the area’s future success. There is no funding currently identified to help implement the plan.

While many of these recommendations will need to be undertaken by private business and property owners, city staff continue to take an active role in providing guidance and information to help stakeholders accomplish these goals.

A New Look at Old Town Final Plan

 

Implementation steps

Related goals

Time frame

Responsibility

1

Establish a merchants' and property owners' organization to serve as an organizing and communication tool

Appearance, Destination/Events

Short Term

Business & property owners

2

Improve rear parking lot to the north of the shops

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Short Term

City

3

Consider the relocation of Santa Fe Trail Drive during a major roadway or parking lot repair project in the area

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Long  Term

City

4

Use updated Design Guidelines to improve the rear facades of retail stores

Appearance

Short Term

Property owners

5

Include businesses west of Pflumm Road and south of railroad in merchants' organization

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Short Term

Business owners

6

Undertake a branding study to develop a logo or brand for the district and install signage at key gateway locations to guide people to Old Town

Appearance, Destination/Events

Short Term

Partnership*

7

Create flexible park space at current Senior Center location

Appearance, Destination/Events

Long  Term

City

8

Explore the establishment of a Quiet Zone with the BNSF Railway

Connectivity, Destination/Events

Long  Term

City

9

Establish citywide approach for bicycle, pedestrian and transit accommodations

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Long  Term

City

Short Term= less than five years; Long Term= more than five years

*Partnership with city and/or other entities (e.g., business owners, railroad)


Progress update

The plan's final recommendations are designed for the city, property owners and business owners and separated into short-term (less than five years) and long-term (more than five years) goals. Two years later, many of the report's key recommendations have already seen encouraging progress.

Install signage at key gateway locations to guide people to Old Town.

Lenexa has obtained federal funds to make improvements to the intersection of Santa Fe Trail Drive and 95th Street. As part of this project, we intend to include a gateway monument sign for Old Town. Lenexa staff are also working to identify opportunities and funding to extend a trail from 95th Street through Old Town along Santa Fe Trail Drive.

Create flexible park space at current Senior Center location.

City staff are in the process of selecting a firm to analyze and identify opportunities for reuse of the Community Center, Senior Center and adjacent property.

Establish a merchants' and property owners' organization to serve as an organization and marketing tool.

City staff prepared a significant amount of research into the establishment of merchants associations, which was provided to Old Town representatives as a resource for them when they decide to move forward.

Explore the establishment of a quiet zone with the BNSF Railway.

With two railroad crossings at Pflumm Road and Noland Road, reducing the deafening sound of trains crossing through Old Town was a critical piece of this plan.

Installing a $2 million quiet zone presented numerous challenges given the location of the rail line and intersections. So, staff researched a new option: wayside horns. These stationary horns are mounted at railroad  crossings that warn motorists by projecting sound down the roadway instead of the track, eliminating noise  pollution in neighborhoods.

In early May, residents, business owners and the City Council were invited to attend a test of the wayside horn system. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the City Council approved $350,000 to install the wayside horns. Staff is now working with BNSF Railway to implement the horn system. Similar projects in other communities have taken a year or more to implement.

Establish citywide approach for bicycle, pedestrian and transit accommodations.

City staff recently contracted with Olsson Associates to develop a Complete Streets plan. Watch our website for opportunities to participate in this community-driven process, including online surveys and public meetings.