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Mayor's 2018 State of the City Speech

Mayor's 2018 State of the City Speech
Posted on 02/21/2018
2018 State of the City: Progress

Following is the text of Mayor Michael Boehm's 2018 State of the City address. He gave his speech on Feb. 21, 2018 at the Hyatt Place/Lenexa Conference Center at the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce's lunch meeting to a crowd of more than 200 residents, business people and city employees. 

Selected slides from Mayor Boehm's presentation are embedded below.


I’m happy to be here to talk about the state of our city and share highlights about the tremendous things happening in Lenexa. Thank you to today’s sponsor – Kansas City Power & Light – for their continued commitment to our community. This marks my 16th state of the city address, and KCP&L has been our sponsor from the beginning. Thank you also to Grand Street Café, Hyatt Place, and the Lenexa Conference Center for their service today.


Before I delve into what made 2017 a special year, it’s my pleasure to introduce three new City Council members who joined the Governing Body in the past few months.

Last fall, after serving Lenexa for more than 18 years on the city council, Amy Slater and her new husband, Shane, began their life together in a new home in a neighboring community, and we wish them well.

Dan Roh, Ward 2, Corey Hunt, Ward 3, Bill Nicks, Ward 2

Eleven individuals applied for the council position to represent Ward 3, and after an extensive interview process, Dan Roh was appointed to fill the vacancy. Dan has lived in Lenexa for more than three decades and recently retired from Hallmark after a 35-year career. In his short time on the Council, Dan has already proven to be an excellent addition to our organization.

The November elections brought to the City Council two new representatives, who began their terms in January.

Corey Hunt was elected to represent Ward 3. A combat veteran, Corey retired from the Navy after 23 years of service. He is currently employed by DST Systems as a Workforce Systems Analyst.

Bill Nicks was elected to represent Ward 2. Bill was Lenexa’s first professional Director of Parks & Recreation – a position he held for 29 years. You might also recognize Bill from the historical characters, Octave Chanute and James Naismith, that he portrays through reenactments.

These new council members have embraced their responsibilities and have already engaged in meaningful dialogue representing their constituents. I encourage you to introduce yourself to the new council members and welcome them on board.

When you look back through Lenexa’s history, there are several years that stand out as milestones.

  • In 1869, Octave Chanute platted the town, Charles Bradshaw donated land so a train depot could be built, and city leaders decided to name the town after Na-Nex-Se.

  • The Strang Line railway started operation in 1906.

  • Lenexa was incorporated in 1907.

  • Lenexa’s spinach boom started in 1934.

  • In 1982, the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle began – which paved the way for Lenexa to become the city of festivals.

  • In 2007, we celebrated Lenexa’s centennial with a nine-day, city-wide celebration.



After all that has happened in the last twelve months, I believe we can add 2017 to the list of significant years which define our community.

To understand the priorities of our residents and gauge their satisfaction with city services, we asked ETC Institute to again randomly survey Lenexa residents. The 2017 survey took place in November and December, and I thank each of the 813 residents who took the time to provide their feedback.

Since ETC conducts similar surveys across the country, using standardized questions, we can see how Lenexa results compare locally to the Kansas City metropolitan area and nationally.

Throughout today’s speech, the blue bar will represent Lenexa, the yellow bar is the average for the KC metropolitan area, and the green bar is the average for the United States.

The numbers on this slide show the percentage of respondents who rated their city at the top of the scale.


Respondents were asked to think about their city and rate the overall quality of life, overall appearance and overall image. As you can see, our scores are remarkably higher than both the metropolitan area and national results. For these three questions, Lenexa averaged 24 points higher than other communities in the Kansas City area.


Next, we see that when asked about overall quality of services provided by the city, the satisfaction rating for Lenexa is 85 percent. The metro average is 56 percent, and national results are even lower.

And when asked to rate value received for tax dollars, Lenexa’s 74 percent is 31 points higher than the metro average.

Of those surveyed:

  • 96 percent said Lenexa is a great place to live.

  • 95 percent said it’s a great place to raise kids.

These outcomes are remarkable compared to local and national results.


We also outperform other communities when measuring the city as a place to work. Our result of 80 percent is 18 points higher than surrounding cities and 26 points higher than the national average.

Exceptional ratings like these examples can be found throughout the survey. When questions probe deeper into specific work accomplished by city departments, the results show our residents are extremely satisfied.

We excel at many things: including police and fire protection, parks & recreation programs and facilities, infrastructure maintenance, cleanliness of public areas, communications, code enforcement and customer service.

In a time when many are frustrated with government, we should be proud that our residents believe we help make Lenexa an exceptional community. These results show they have confidence in their government and that we are focused on the right priorities.

I encourage you to visit the city’s website to look at the survey results in depth.

On your table, you will find Lenexa’s 2017 Year in Review. This annual report highlights projects and services from the past year that support the six primary goals of the Governing Body. These goals are created taking into account our bi-annual survey responses and our visioning processes, and they guide us in setting priorities.

Construction of new buildings

Two decades ago, the creation of a new downtown was borne out of Vision 2020, a citizen-led process that challenged us to shape Lenexa’s future. The first Governing Body goal comes directly from Vision 2020: to create a premier destination that serves as a community gathering place and integrates a variety of uses. In other words, to build Lenexa City Center.

As you arrived today, I’m sure you saw the rapid progress being made on this goal as construction is happening throughout our new downtown.

Ribbon Cutting

Large crowd

One of 2017’s crowning achievements was opening the civic campus in the heart of Lenexa City Center. On July 31, we cut two ribbons and opened Lenexa’s new City Hall and the new Lenexa Rec Center. A month later, we gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Lenexa Public Market.

Building just one of these new facilities would have been a tremendous asset for our residents. But creating a civic campus with them all in one location has produced a synergy that is undeniable.

Three photos: Person at a counter, art gallery, University students

You will find people at the new campus every day of the week from early in the morning until late into the evening. People still come to City Hall for traditional reasons – to process a permit or apply for a job. But there’s much more.

They view paintings and 3-D art in the art gallery, listen to poetry and lectures in the Community Forum, share ideas in meeting rooms and attend classes at Park University.

Four photos: Cooking class, coffee bar, crows of people, sitting by fire pit

At the Public Market, they meet for an early morning cup of coffee, take a cooking class, browse for locally-made gifts, share drinks around a fire pit, and make the hardest decision of the day: whether to eat tamales, pizza, dumplings, barbecue or dessert.

Outside on the Lenexa Commons, they enjoy performances by our new community orchestra, pose for Homecoming photos, share a family picnic and play catch on the turf.

Four photos: Family walking, boy in a pool, boys playing basketball, older people playing cards

And at the Rec Center, they walk on the elevated track, work out at one of 80 weekly classes, celebrate birthdays, learn to swim, play card games and do everything they can to work off the calories they consumed at the Public Market.

And when doing these activities, our visitors encounter their co-workers, their neighbors and their friends. As prescribed by Vision 2020, we have created a community gathering place that integrates a mix of uses. I’m proud of what we’ve built and know that in the coming decades, the campus will be alive with activity that will help shape City Center and build upon the small town feel of Lenexa. 


To get better insight into what’s happening at City Center, look on page 8 of your Year in Review. There you will find a map which identifies projects that are open, under construction, and planned.

Rendering of building

The Lenexa City Center branch of the Johnson County Library broke ground in November. We were pleased to welcome officials from Johnson County Government and the Library Board to Lenexa for this celebration.

The new library is located immediately south of the Public Market. The new 2-story, 40,000-square-foot facility will open in 2019. We look forward to the extra vitality this addition and their patrons will bring to the civic campus.

Building rendering

In October, we joined the Shawnee Mission School Board, the Johnson County Parks Board, and officials from both organizations at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Shawnee Mission District Aquatic Center.

The facility, which will have a seating capacity of nearly 1,500, will host local and regional swim meets, teach swimming lessons, and will be a great asset for all of Johnson County. The facility is projected to open in 2019, bringing even more visitors to Lenexa and City Center.

Building Rendering

The District, which is being built on Penrose across the street from City Hall, spans 1/4 mile and centers around what will be City Center Drive. The project includes 175 luxury residential units, 45,000 square feet of office space, and 35,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Copaken Brooks and EPC Real Estate anticipate opening this mixed-use project in 2019.

One final exciting note for City Center. The Kiewit Energy Group recently acquired the twin buildings that had been the home of Lexmark and has plans to construct a third building in the near future. We are very proud that Kiewit Power has made the decision to expand in Lenexa. After renovations are complete, we will see an influx of more than 1,000 Kiewit employees coming to Lenexa City Center daily.

Next, we turn to our second goal - fiscal responsibility. I am pleased to report that Lenexa remains in a strong financial position. The city’s projected revenues equal or exceed our anticipated expenditures for the next five years. Together, our sound financial policies and practices, excellent bond rating, exceptional leadership from staff, and healthy reserves create a fiscal outlook that is the envy of many other cities.

We know the public entrusts us with their money and it is our responsibility to invest it wisely. You can be assured this is kept in mind with every decision we make. I would like to recognize Doug Robinson, Jill Grube, and the finance department who keep us on track and create a healthy financial foundation for our community.

Much of our work centers on city services which help create a superior quality of life in Lenexa where people want to live, work and play. To accomplish this, we must first ensure that people feel safe. Our residents understand this and rank public safety as one of the most important services we provide.

Bar graph

Our employees continue to set the standard for how police and fire departments should serve the community. The recent survey revealed that 95 percent of respondents had a positive perception of Lenexa’s police, fire and ambulance services.

That is truly a remarkable number. Citizens know that our public safety employees are dedicated to protecting them and are committed to building a trusting relationship with the community.

Last year, the Fire Department was accredited for the fourth consecutive time by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. They are one of only a handful of agencies that have earned this accreditation and the elite Insurance Services Office Class One Rating, which translates into lower insurance premiums for Lenexa residents and businesses.

The Lenexa Police Department continues to be a leader in community outreach. They attend neighborhood block parties, visit with scout troops, and host compelling programs like the Citizens Police Academy, Youth Police Academy, and Coffee with a Cop.

I commend both departments for their approach to this important work.

One of the biggest challenges facing our public safety departments is recruiting exceptional employees to join their ranks.

We consistently have openings in both the police and fire departments, and because we will only hire the best of the best, these openings can be difficult to fill. I encourage you to share the story of the great work accomplished by these departments and help us recruit outstanding candidates.

Another department whose work is visible to the public is Municipal Services. They are charged with making sure that city-owned streets, trails, facilities, vehicles, stormwater infrastructure and other assets are kept in top shape.

Bar graphs

The survey revealed that residents are highly satisfied with the work accomplished by Municipal Services. Looking at two specific examples, Lenexa earned an 89 percent satisfaction rating for the maintenance of traffic signals, which is 14 points higher than the metro average.

And when asked about satisfaction with the maintenance of city streets, our rating of 83 percent is 27 points higher than other surrounding communities.

Map of Roads

In the past four years we’ve resurfaced 72 percent of Lenexa’s residential streets. Not only is this smart economically, as it prolongs the life of each road, but it also makes for a better ride in our neighborhoods and encourages neighborhood re-investment by the adjoining property owners.

This year, we are investing an additional $5 million in street maintenance as we continue to make pavement management a top priority – acknowledging our residents’ high ranking on this subject.

Snow plow bar graph

Another important function of Municipal Services is snow removal. After every snowstorm, we hear compliments that it is easy to tell when you cross the Lenexa border. The survey shows that satisfaction for snow removal on Lenexa’s major streets was 89 percent - 20 points higher than the metro average. I want to thank Municipal Services for all they do for our community.

The work accomplished by teams we have talked about so far is often easy to see. As you can imagine, it takes an enormous amount of effort behind the scenes to keep our city running. Those accomplishing this often-invisible work serve our stakeholders by creating the internal infrastructure that makes our success possible. I would like to recognize the excellent work of employees from these departments including Legal, Finance, Executive, Information Technology, Communications, and Human Resources.

Last year, two employees from these departments were promoted to our management team. Congratulations to Information Technology Director Justin Rairden and Communications Director Denise Rendina – both Leadership Lenexa grads - on their promotions.

Deputy City Administrator Todd Pelham served as the project manager throughout the construction of the new civic campus and is to be commended for his leadership, as this endeavor came in on budget and on time.

I would also like to recognize City Administrator Eric Wade, who was honored with the Buford Watson, Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Management from the Kansas Association of City County Management last year. Eric is an exceptional leader and is a true asset for Lenexa.

Bar graph

2017 was the fifth consecutive year that we set a record for economic development in Lenexa. When you add up the value of all construction projects for last year, the total building permit value topped $420 million.

Beccy Yocham and Community Development, along with Cindy Harmison and the Legal Department have done an amazing job of servicing the new development applications and have built a metro-wide reputation for efficiently getting things done amongst the development community.  

That’s 30 percent higher than 2016 – the previous record year, and just $20 million less than the $443 million achieved during the four-year period from 2009 to 2012.


This is important because development results in more jobs, living options, and places to dine and shop. And it provides the city with more resources to maintain a high quality of life.
In addition to everything taking place at City Center, work is happening throughout Lenexa.

Three construction buildings

Large commercial developments and expansions which were started and/or completed in 2017 include investments by UPS, Corbion, Minimally Invasive Surgery Hospital, Sprint, Grundfos, and Zhongcheng Packaging.

There are also several multifamily construction projects in development throughout our community. These will provide high quality housing options for current and future residents and their mixed-use approach paves the way for more retail, restaurant and office locations.

House under construction

Single-family housing construction remains strong. In 2017, the city issued 242 permits for new single-family houses with a total construction valuation of $87.1 million. The number of permits issued last year is the highest since 2006. In 2017, we approved several new single-family subdivisions, including:

  • Timber Rock at 95th and Lone Elm

  • Bristol Highlands at 83rd and Monticello

  • North Reserve Park in Lenexa City Center 

These will provide new housing options as our existing subdivisions become built out.

Lenexa’s strong economic growth didn’t happen by chance. The foundation was laid by the citizen-led visioning processes of Vision 2020 and 2030. Over the past two decades, both city council members and professional staff have ensured that short-term decisions led to this long-term success. This wasn’t always easy, especially during the Great Recession. But our planning and resolve are paying off and we now see the reward for making the right decisions along the way.

2018 is shaping up to be another strong year. Your City Council and Planning Commission are focused on enhancing Lenexa’s diverse economic base. I would like to again thank Beccy and the Community Development Department, along with Blake Schreck from the Chamber, for their dedication to strategic economic development.

In addition to new construction, we remain committed to reinvestment. I’m pleased to see private activity throughout the community, from the two retail redevelopments -- Starbucks and AutoZone -- along 87th Street Parkway, to the major expansion underway at UPS on Lackman.

Quivira Road Public Meeting, Feb. 21, 6 p.m.

In 2016, a grant from the Mid-America Regional Council’s Planning Sustainable Places program helped us take a closer look at Old Town. Last year we received another MARC grant to study the Quivira Road corridor from 79th to 99th streets. The goals of this study are to promote reinvestment, expand multimodal transportation opportunities and support the distinct character of this heavily-traveled corridor.

The study will help us build on the momentum of recent redevelopment in the area including the Johnson County Gateway project, construction of three hotels near the 95th and I-35 interchange, the addition of WaterSide residences, and the renovation of several existing apartment complexes near 95th and 79th Street.

Throughout the process, we engaged residents and developers to ensure their thoughts were taken into consideration. The study’s final public meeting is tonight at City Hall beginning at 6 p.m.

As with the Old Town study completed in 2016, this is a high-level planning study and we have not identified specific funding to implement the recommendations. However, this ground work will help us plan for the Quivira Road corridor’s long-term prosperity.

Pavilion under construction

We are also reinvesting in Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. The centerpiece of the improvements is a new 200-seat pavilion which sits on the highest point of the park, offering great views of the surrounding area.

Lenexa’s outstanding parks system is one of many assets that helps create our sense of community.

Another source of pride are our festivals and events, which were as popular as ever in 2017. Some, like the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and the Spinach Festival, have taken place for decades. Others are one-time events like the solar eclipse watch party held at the Lenexa Commons and September to Remember.

Four photos of people t festivals

Much of this work falls to our exceptional Parks & Recreation Department which produces well-planned, unique experiences that are enjoyed by thousands each year.

As noted, we hosted a special month-long celebration to usher in our new facilities and celebrate Lenexa City Center. September to Remember included more than 30 events throughout the City Center area, including an architectural walk and talk, a sidewalk chalk contest, special dining experiences at local restaurants and open houses at City Center businesses.

Three photos

Throughout the month, the Passport to City Center encouraged everyone to explore the new civic campus as well as businesses at Lenexa City Center. Participants flocked to these locations to get their passport stamped in hopes of winning prizes.

The first, of three major events, was the Grand Party and Ice Cream Social, which took place on National Grandparents Day. Attendees enjoyed bingo, live entertainment and free ice cream.
LenEXPO was designed with families in mind. Kids got to explore police cars, fire trucks and big rigs with the employees who operate them. Guests helped create a giant sign out of LEGO bricks which boasts our favorite saying – “I Like Lenexa." The colorful sign – which weighs in at 181 pounds – can be found hanging in the Rec Center.

Kid in a truck, I Like Lenexa sign, man helping kid

large crowd and fireworks

We ended the month-long celebration with a bang. Thousands enjoyed a delicious dinner at our Food Truck Frenzy, and then, after listening to live music, the evening ended with a spectacular display of fireworks.

We are grateful to everyone who helped create this memorable month of activities, including those who served on the Citizen Advisory Committee and the sponsors that helped underwrite the cost of these events.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize three former City Council members for their remarkable service to Lenexa. Amy Slater, Lou Serrone and Stacy Knipp. I appreciate their commitment to making Lenexa an exceptional place.

During this busy year, city duties required time away from my full-time job, and I appreciate the support of my Commerce Bank associates for their efforts.

I also want to thank the Chamber staff and the many volunteers who make Lenexa special. We are lucky to have all of your support and guidance.

But wait. 2018 is off to a great start and should be another incredible year. In January, Money magazine named Lenexa the best place to live in Kansas

Crowd eating inside

Just this last week, the ESPN College GameDay bus stopped by the Public Market, thanks to State Farm agent, Greg Aldridge, a Lenexa businessman, resident, and huge fan of City Center. Hundreds of fans – many new to City Center - stopped by for the activities.

In April, the Lenexa Farmers Market will debut in the civic campus parking garage. You can expect to see locally-sourced fruits, vegetables, meat, flowers and more on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.

We’ll engage the community in a complete streets study which will help us assess how our infrastructure is utilized. With study in hand, we will be able to make informed decisions to benefit the entire community.

We will use federal dollars to study the services and amenities provided at the Community Center and Senior Center in Old Town to make recommendations for their future.

Two pieces of artwork

We will see progress on two new pieces of commissioned public art -- both taking inspiration from the civic campus. The first piece of art is interactive and consists of two spheres which emit light from their core. The second is a cold-glass sculpture installation which will hang in the Rec Center and is inspired by splashes of water.

Map of road improvements

Construction on Ridgeview Road north from K-10 to Prairie Star Parkway will begin this spring, and when completed in 2019, will provide another important route for drivers and will open a new area for development opportunities.

One of the most important undertakings in 2018 is something that each of you are invited to participate in. Over the next year, residents and members of the business community will work together to create Vision 2040. Like its predecessors, this visioning process will challenge us to think about Lenexa’s future.

Questions such as:

  • Will the shift in how Americans are shopping impact the number of retail establishments in Lenexa?

  • How will that effect economic development?

  • Will Lenexa transition to mostly redevelopment as we near build out?

  • What needs will come from our aging population?

  • What technological advances will take place that we must be ready to meet?

Three men and one woman

I’m pleased to announce that Stacy Knipp and Mike Stein have agreed to serve as our citizen co-chairs for the Vision 2040 steering committee. They will work closely with two Lenexa employees who will also help lead this process – Sean McLaughlin from our Legal Department and Logan Wagler from Parks & Recreation. These individuals have an important task ahead and I hope you will join them in the process.

We’re currently looking for volunteers to serve on the Vision 2040 steering committee as well as task forces that will explore specific issues. If you are interested in serving, please visit There you can learn more about Vision 2040, help us determine the specific issues that should be addressed, and let us know of your interest in volunteering.
I encourage you to join us in this vital process. By working together, we can ensure that Lenexa charts a thoughtful and progressive course into the future.

Thank you.