This parking inventory was taken a couple years ago when spaces were manually counted, according to Terry Berkbuegler, planner. She said the count is conservative because it doesn’t include any of the on-street parking spaces on the south side of Park. The only spots that are consistently full are the city lot behind city hall, the on-street spaces along Shawnee north of city hall and the on-street spaces on Elm Street in the first block north and south of Main Street. Also, Berkbuegler said it looks like some of the on-street spaces up by the pool fill up in the afternoon as well during the summer. Some of the spaces highlighted appear to be privately owned. Submitted graphic

Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
Plans to revitalize downtown Gardner are starting to take shape with city officials and project consultants sharing several concepts for the project during a public meeting Sept. 10.
Terry Berkbuegler, lead consultant, said the group of engineers, architects and city officials had developed several concepts after reviewing the results of a citizens’ survey conducted earlier in the year.
He said the team had also conducted a traffic study in downtown Gardner including a tally of available parking spots.
“There are 755 parking spots in the area with most of them between Elm and Center” he said adding that some of the spots like the ones behind city hall are heavily utilized during working hours.
He said Elm Street has a lot of parking spots, and some of the proposed plans call for the street to be made a pedestrian oriented street.
The plans center on land between city hall and the aquatic center and behind the library and the Presbyterian Church.
He said some of the land is owned by the church, and there have been constructive discussions with the church about the land.
He said other plans may affect the current location of Blazers Restaurant.
“We are also talking to them, and they may be amenable to moving to a different location,” he said.
The group shared architectural renderings of the proposals including a farmer’s market, open air amphitheater, an art garden, an outdoor seating area with a fire pit and a multi purpose community building.
The plans also call for the construction of a mixed use development including shops and townhouses along Center Street.
He said that the plans focused on a plan that encourages the staging of smaller events in the downtown area as opposed to large events like festivals.
The group said the downtown area faces significant issues with ADA compliance, and some streets and sidewalks may be need to be replaced.
Berkbuegler said there was a possibility that Gardner could host a transit bus hub as part of a metro-wide plan being developed by the Kansas City Transit Authority and local governments.
In developing the plans, the group visited several area cities which have recently completed similar downtown projects.
The group visited Linden Square in Gladstone, the Farmers Market in Overland Park, Park Place in Leawood and downtown Lees Summit, Mo.
Mid America Regional Council will fund 80 percent of the project with the city paying the balance.