This past year was a momentous time for the City of Gardner. We celebrated the start and completion of a number of significant projects that enhanced the quality of life for our residents and addressed the diverse needs of our community.
Our robust economic development strategy allowed us to strengthen Gardner’s economy, securing $105 million of private investments in 2018 alone. This is due to the addition of 13 new businesses that have opened or are in the development process. Some of the new establishments we welcomed include the Hampton Inn, Excelligence Learning Corporation, Scooters, First Point Urgent Care, Enterprise Leasing, Planet Sub, and CVS. And early this spring, we will celebrate the official groundbreaking of the new Olathe Health Urgent Care & Multi-Specialty Center – an essential service to our residents that has been absent from Southwest Johnson County until now.
These new businesses also helped us take a big step in job creation last year. Approximately 460 new jobs were formed, helping to increase Gardner’s local workforce. These types of opportunities give many of our residents the convenience of living and working in Gardner while helping to boost our economy.
Gardner’s affordable housing, award-winning schools and community character continue to draw people to our fine city. In fact, the Kansas City Business Journal ranked us as the third fastest growing city in Kansas. Because of this constant trajectory of growth, our residential development continued to thrive. Last year, 135 new single-family housing units were built throughout the city, adding more than $33.75 million in property valuation for Gardner. We also created three new housing subdivisions to help us keep up with the surging demand, which will add 307 new single-family housing lots, and there are more on the way.
Taking care of our assets and infrastructure remains a top priority. Thanks to our residents’ support, we broke ground on our new Gardner Justice Center that will house municipal court and police services. We also completed our grant-funded Main Street Corridor Plan that allowed us to study future growth, housing, and transportation demands of our downtown, so we can proactively plan for future improvements to ensure the continued vitality of our city. Also, in 2018, we secured more than $1.5 million in funding through the Johnson County CARS program to construct improvements to Waverly Road. These improvements will help accommodate the increasing traffic in that area, provide our kids a safer route to travel to school and support future development. Other notable infrastructure projects for the year consisted of upgrading and replacing utility systems, as well as improvements and enhancements at the Gardner Golf Course and the Gardner Aquatic Center.
There are so many more accomplishments, but I can’t list them all here. However, lastly, I do want to recognize our greatest asset and that’s our employees. We are able to celebrate the accomplishments of 2018 and look to future accomplishments because of their hard work, commitment and professionalism. We are fortunate to have such a talented group of individuals dedicated to providing above and beyond customer service to our residents.
Gardner’s growing momentum will continue to manifest in 2019 as we have set the necessary framework that has positioned the city for even greater success. This includes having the largest commercial-building season that Gardner has ever seen, starting improvements to the Gardner Road Interchange, developing a mixed-use retail and industrial project on the east side of I-35 at 175th St., and opening our brand-new Justice Center. I look forward to sharing more information about these projects, and others, at the upcoming State of the City Address on April 17. I hope you can join us!
City’s future continues to be bright