City of Overland Park
When incorporated as a first-class city in 1960, Overland Park comprised 13 square miles of land and it had just 28,085 residents. Today, it has expanded to more than 75 square miles and more than 185,000 residents call it home. The tremendous growth and success of the community has not happened by chance, but is due largely to the wisdom and foresight of community leaders and a progressive city government.
In the early 1960s, city officials adopted a comprehensive plan for land use, parks, schools, zoning and housing. Also considered were industry, shopping districts and expressways. That early vision and planning resulted in the Overland Park we know today – a city often recognized as a model for quality of life.
The City follows a long-range master development plan that is annually updated with public input. A five-year capital improvement plan is evaluated annually to determine priorities for improvements to streets, highways, storm water management, parks, public buildings and other public spaces. Sales tax revenue, general obligation bonds, special assessment districts and funds from other governmental agencies fund many of these projects.
The City has a long-standing record of fiscal responsibility based upon sound financial planning and budgeting. Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s all have given Overland Park AAA bond ratings, making it one of only 40 cities nationwide to receive this designation from all three services. The highest financial rating allows Overland Park to secure much lower interest rates on bond issues. This keeps the cost to taxpayers to a minimum.
Independent citywide surveys show that 94% of residents surveyed are satisfied with the quality of life in Overland Park, making the city’s services among the best in the metropolitan region and the nation.
As the population continues to grow, so does the need for additional road infrastructure. Overland Park continually strives to address issues of traffic flow and congestion within the city not only for safety reasons, but also because it's what residents rank as the top priority based on citywide surveys. The City of Overland Park contributed $8 million toward the Kansas Department of Transportation’s I-435 and U.S. 69 Red Project to improve traffic flow through the heart of the city. Bus transportation and pedestrian amenities along the Metcalf and Shawnee Mission Parkway corridors recently were enhanced with multiple bus stops, three park-and-ride locations, landscaping and wider sidewalks for biking and walking.
Overland Park comprises about one-third of the population in Johnson County. The most populous county in Kansas, Johnson County contains four of the state’s ten largest cities including Overland Park (second) and the county seat, Olathe (fifth). The county's size is 477 square miles of which approximately 60 percent is inside the city limits of its 20 cities. Its population in 2014 was an estimated 574,272.
Johnson County’s population grew by 77,581 residents from 2004 to 2014, accounting for 46 percent of the population growth in Kansas and 45 percent of the increase in the Kansas City metropolitan region.
The county has the highest median household income and second highest per-capita income in Kansas. It is among the most affluent in the United States, boasting the 75th highest median household income in 2011 and the 53rd highest per-capita income in 2013.
Since 1995, Johnson County has been the state’s largest provider of employment. In 2014, the Johnson County labor force accounted for 24% of the total Kansas City regional laborshed, and approximately 23% of the total in Kansas. That same year, Johnson County employers provided a total payroll of almost $16.1 billion, accounting for 35% of the Kansas City metro area’s and 28% of the state’s total.
In job growth, the number of full- and part-time jobs in Johnson County increased by 11% from 2005 to 2015. During that decade, the Johnson County economy accounted for 52% of the total net job growth in Kansas and 62% of the job growth in the Kansas City metro.
In 2015, $652 million in state sales taxes was collected in Johnson County, amounting to 26% of the state’s total sales tax revenue.
Johnson County was one of the first counties established in the Kansas Territory in 1855. It was largely rural until the early 20th century when housing subdivisions were developed in the northeastern portion of the county adjacent to Kansas City, Missouri. The pace of development exploded at the close of World War II. The county has added 100,000 residents each decade between the 1990 and 2010 censuses.
County government is administered by an elected, seven-member Board of County Commissioners. Johnson County Government provides public health and wellness services, codes regulation, law enforcement, public infrastructure, and maintenance of official records. It operates a major intermodal transit system that includes two airports, an urban busing system and transit services.
The Johnson County Library operates a Central Resource Library in Overland Park and 13 branch libraries. The county's park and recreation district owns almost 10,000 acres in 12 developed parks and future parks under development.