In 1922, Oscar G. Lee arrived and purchased acreage between 79th and 103rd streets and State Line and Belinder roads. He probably didn’t realize he had laid the foundation that Leawood would be built! The architect, Kroh Brothers Realty, began developing the land in Johnson County in 1932 with the goal of creating a tranquil community. And Leawood has lived up to their dream! The City was eventually incorporated in November of 1948.
There will be a three-day weekend of activities October 6-8 beginning with the Leawood Chamber’s “Taste of Leawood” on Friday night, October 6. Tickets are $100 and selling quick. City events ramp on Saturday beginning with a pancake breakfast provided by the Leawood Lions from 7:30 am-1:30 pm. Tickets are required.
A kid’s bike parade will begin at 9:00 a.m. with prizes for the top three. There will be a Touch-A-Truck event from 10:00-1:00 featuring vehicles and equipment from public works, parks, police and fire. Children’s entertainment will begin at 1:00 ending at 3:00 with kids’ concerts and face painters. All these activities will take place along Tomahawk Creek Parkway and are free.
Saturday evening kicks off with a free concert featuring “Twice on Sunday” and a special VIP tent featuring performances by KC Aerial, heavy apps and specialty drinks along with a fabulous swag bag provided by the Leawood Foundation. The concert is free but tickets for the VIP tent are $75 (must be 21) with only 200 tickets available.
Sunday is all about the kiddos with a Kids Karnivale taking place at Tomahawk Park, located off 119th street between Mission Road and Tomahawk Creek Parkway. The event runs from Noon to 5:00 and includes inflatables, rides, cotton candy, popcorn and an interactive workshop by KC Aerial from 1-3:00. Tickets are available for children 18 and under for $7 at City Hall through October 6 or $10 at the door. The Leawood Lions and Boy Scouts Troop 10 will provide drink sales.
Chris Claxton, Director, Parks, Recreation and Arts, noted, “We expect to be completely built out at 42,000 residents in the next five to seven years. Lots of commercial development is also taking place now.”
There is so much happening in the city, and she mentioned a rebranding took place earlier this year with a new logo and tag lines, “Strengthened by Community,” and “Inspired by Possibility”. The city has been given an Aaa bond rating by Moody’s again for the 16th consecutive year.
The city will be electing a new mayor in November as Mayor Peggy Dunn will not seek reelection after 25 years of exceptional service. Council members also not seeking reelection include James Azeltine, Ward 4, Jim Rawlings, Ward 2 and Andrew Osman Ward 1.
The Leawood Arts Council recently commissioned a new art piece to celebrate the 75th anniversary, which is in process by artist, William Nemitoff, who grew up in Leawood but currently resides in New Orleans.
A new fire station, located at 96th and Lee has been constructed and will be opening in late October. A new park maintenance facility is under construction at 143rd and Overbrook after a flood in August of 2017 destroyed the former facility. The scheduled opening date is the end of October.
The Parks, Recreation & Arts Department is working to finalize a plan to replace the playground at Tomahawk Park with installation planned in the spring of 2024. In addition, two of the main shelters in City Park are planned to be taken down and replaced in 2024.
Volume II of the History Book, “The Journey Continues,” is currently at the publishers and covers the past 25 years. It will be available for purchase at the 75th anniversary events along with Volume I.
“Leawood continues to be a very vibrant, modern community with a variety of new residential options, businesses, and restaurants coming into the community.”
“Elected officials, volunteers and staff continue to emphasize the quality of life that Leawood provides to its citizens, businesses and visitors,” Chris continued. “Our tag line used to be Growing with Distinction, and I can safely say Leawood is now 'Living with Distinction.'"
For information about event times and locations for celebratory events, or to purchase tickets, visit leawood.org and click on Special Events.