Olathe, KS

Johnson County Square

Client: Johnson County, KS

Category: Public Engagement/Branding, Parks + Recreation

Date: 2021

Project Features
  • Creative Placemaking
  • Interactive Art
  • Master Planning
  • Public Engagement
  • Gathering Space
  • Flexible Food Truck Facilitation
  • Civic Space

County Square is Johnson County’s newest civic space located between the administration building and the new county courthouse in the old courthouse space.  Landworks Studio worked with Johnson County Administration and the Design/Build team associated with the new county courthouse to engage the community to complete a master plan for this signature green space. Gathering input from county residents, downtown stakeholders and working with a steering committee, Landworks Studio developed concepts that included the community's top priorities.  These priorities includeded:

  • a multi-use structure used for a variety of activities including stage/performances, weddings, an outdoor classroom or covered picnicking
  • an artistic playground for all ages
  • an education/historical plaza for existing and new monuments
  • open lawn/gathering area 
  • iconic art

The final concept is a phasable plan that blends the historical context with contemporary architecture and leads downtown Olathe in a new direction.  The civic space, while preserving Johnson County history, will aid in revitalization of downtown by providing a programmable place for everyone to gather during festivals and events.  In addition, the green space is flexible enough to provide everything from a venue for weddings, a place for daily walks, a destination for families and instagrammable places in any season.

The Johnson County Government held the ribbon cutting and Rotary Tree Grove dedication at the new Johnson County Square in December 2021. The open space sits in the heart of Olathe, at the corner of Cherry and Santa Fe streets and features a shady tree grove for picnics, a wide arching sidewalk to accommodate booths and circulation during special events and festivals, unique pedestrian lighting that compliments the new Courthouse plaza, and a community green is a space where groups can gather. The space can be programmed for outdoor venues small and large for activities like concerts, yoga, and small performances or can remain open for kite flying, yard games, or informal gatherings.

Future amenities include an artful playground, a large sculpture near the intersection of Santa Fe and Cherry Streets, and an education and history plaza to tell the story of the early county facility structures, the characters, and events associated with the property.

With this project located down the street from our office, we look forward to seeing how our project supports the City of Olathe’s long-term vision for the area.

For more background information, please visit: Johnson County Square Project | Johnson County Kansas (jocogov.org)

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