From the Business Perspective Newsletter
Let’s make Overland Park prosper
I’ve spent my adult life living or working in Overland Park and I count myself among the many who believe it is an ideal place. I’m convinced the Overland Park Chamber has played a significant role in making this community such an outstanding place. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your 2022 Chair.
I’m pleased to say my favorable opinion of Overland Park is not alone. The “community attitudes” poll the Chamber commissioned in 2021 yielded extraordinary results. Voters saw local government as responsive to their needs and handling their tax dollars well. Some 90% agreed Overland Park is a welcoming community. Voters thought the city was “growing at about the right speed.” Thank you to the Chamber Foundation and the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City for joining with the Chamber to commission that poll.
The poll also measured the approval rating of Mayor Gerlach, who had not yet retired. In a day of divisive and hyper-partisan politics, the approval rating of Mayor Gerlach was roughly 70% among Republicans and 70% among Democrats. This is quite a testament to someone doing things the right way and placing non-partisan progress over divisive politics.
We also have new data from the recently completed census. The census tells us Overland Park has 197,238 residents, a population growth of more than 23,000 in just ten years. It also confirms that Johnson County is thriving as eight of its cities are among the state’s top 10 cities for percentage of growth.
Our population is older, more urban and suburban, and more diverse. The city is becoming a little bit older, too. This has an impact on infrastructure, housing, workforce development, and health care.
The Chamber plays a central role in helping the City determine how to face the challenges of a maturing community in the modern era – workforce, housing, education, health, well-being, mobility, and transportation. And how can we continue to educate and inform about why businesses large and small are critical to this community’s future?
To expand our ability to compete nationally, we need to take strategic advantage of our opportunities to be a welcoming community for businesses, promote and encourage a broad and diverse workforce, and make the necessary investments in our own future and the future of this outstanding community.
Together, we look forward to an excellent year. Let’s make Overland Park prosper.