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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.

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Magi Tilton 
Planning and Development Services Manager

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



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

Appearance, Destination/Events

Short Term

Business & property owners


Improve rear parking lot to the north of the shops

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Short Term



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



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


Short Term

Property owners


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

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Short Term

Business owners


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



Create flexible park space at current Senior Center location

Appearance, Destination/Events

Long  Term



Explore the establishment of a Quiet Zone with the BNSF Railway

Connectivity, Destination/Events

Long  Term



Establish citywide approach for bicycle, pedestrian and transit accommodations

Appearance, Connectivity, Destination/Events

Long  Term


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

Not all of the recommendations can be carried out immediately, and many of them relate to private property matters. We are currently making progress on several items:

  1. Researching information about creating an Old Town merchants'/property owners' association that could serve as an organizing and communication tool.
    • We shared results with merchants and property owners so they can consider whether to move forward with establishing an association. A detailed presentation on how to form an active, successful association was provided to the merchants.
  2. Updating the design guidelines for Old Town so they blend new ideas and current construction methods with the area's historic character. (Design guidelines provide direction on appropriate improvements, additions, or changes to properties within Old Town.)
  3. Exploring a railroad Quiet Zone in Old Town, given the challenges of intersection geometry, proximity to the rail line, as well as costs for construction and ongoing maintenance.

    • Additional conversations need to occur between us, BNSF Railway, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration.
    • Letter to elected officials about railroad Quiet Zones
    • If you would like to express your support for the city's efforts, please contact Congressman Yoder, Senator Moran or Senator Roberts to share your input on implementing Quiet Zones in Lenexa.

Congressman Kevin Yoder

Senator Jerry Moran

Senator Pat Roberts