Olathe Gets an Upgrade

Jackson Palmer, Staff Writer

Downtown Olathe is going through major changes, whether it be bulldozing old buildings or building new ones. Although getting rid of old buildings is not the main focus on improving Olathe rather than celebrating Olathe’s history, values are a main focus in the city. Downtown Olathe has some of the oldest buildings and these buildings physically represent the historical development of Olathe. The residents are proud of the atmosphere and what better way to celebrate than to embody the framework of buildings that have been there for countless years.

Providing necessary infrastructure is a very important detail on improving the way downtown Olathe starts to succeed. To maintain the city, they provide services for residents and businesses. Over time, the city will have to replace old stop lights, improve roads and streets, and get rid of buildings that don’t do anything to improve the city. These improvements are to be made to upgrade the safety, appearance and convenience of Downtown Olathe.

“Ultimately when it comes to Downtown Olathe, you want to celebrate the City’s history and values while attracting and retaining new businesses, customers and visitors.” Cody Kennedy, the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for Downtown Olathe said.

A new library is coming to Olathe. This new library will be a headquarters to The Olathe Chamber of Commerce. The Olathe Chamber of Commerce is a partner that helps attract businesses. “The library is scheduled to open in early 2023.” Kennedy Said

Downtown Olathe has to create more ideas to compete with other communities. Trends show that people are migrating to urban areas to live and shop. The economic growth is partially dependent on non-local visitors supporting retail in the city so Olathe must stand out from other communities as they search from non-local shoppers too. “An active and vibrant downtown is key to becoming a destination for non-local Shoppers.” Said a board member for downtown Olathe.

Active transportation is being heavily looked at in Downtown Olathe. Traffic and micro-mobility are the main points of interest being looked at. These micro mobility ideas have consisted of electric scooters, bikes, and pedestrian walking. “These modes use little or no fuel, do not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants, are very quiet and space-efficient, and make us healthier” RDG Planning Communications said. While micro-mobility seems important, traffic is also a big part in the picture of active transportation. “For analysis purposes, the traffic was all redirected to Chestnut Street as it is signalized and has sufficient capacity for additional traffic. With the additional traffic all the movements operate at a LOS C or better.” RDG planning communications said. Directing the traffic from the North and South side where the flow of cars is impacted the most to Chestnut where it has to space will help clear up the traffic.

Understanding the cultural value of this city is very important but keeping the city updated and adding new business to benefit the city may be sending the city tons of help. “ While the skyline may look different than the past, it’s important to invest and update areas of our city so that they are prepared for 2040 and beyond.” Kennedy said.