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Johnson County Square nearly complete — Here’s what’s new

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Major construction on the second phase of the Johnson County Square project on the site of the former county courthouse in downtown Olathe is about to wrap up.

This phase of the public square project, which sits on Santa Fe Street between Kansas Avenue and Cherry Street, will bring more amenities to the open green space between the county administration building and the new courthouse to the north. Construction began in the spring.

New amenities are coming to the county square

  • Included in this phase is a new multi-use platform at the corner of Santa Fe and Kansas Avenue.
  • There will also be an art garden near the platform featuring both public art and play areas.
  • A new historical plaza will be placed by the Children of the Trails sculpture and fountain near the entrance to the Johnson County Administration building.
  • More trees and additional public seating are planned as well on the square’s southeast corner.
A conceptual rendering shows a multipurpose platform for performances and other activities that are under construction at the Johnson County Square. Image courtesy Johnson County.
A conceptual rendering shows a multipurpose platform for performances and other activities that are under construction at the Johnson County Square. Image courtesy Johnson County.

Johnson County Square has historical significance

  • Before the new one opened across Santa Fe Street in 2021, the former Johnson County Courthouse sat on the square’s site, serving the county for roughly 70 years.
  • After the demolition of the 1950s courthouse was completed in 2021, work began to restore the site — which was a public gathering place before the former courthouse was built there.
  • The demolition and first phase of the square project were included as part of construction of the new $190 million courthouse.
  • This most recent phase — valued at nearly $3 million — was paid for through a partnership between the city of Olathe and Johnson County government.
Johnson County Square
File photo.

Old Settlers Days will be in the county square this year

  • The exact overall completion date for this phase of the project is unclear, but work on it should be wrapped up enough to host Old Settlers Days in the square, Assistant County Manager Joe Waters said in an email.
  • That annual event begins Thursday and will last through Saturday.
  • The Olathe Chamber of Commerce is also planning to hold its Fourth Friday event around the county square on Sept. 22. Plus, the city of Olathe intends to host an art show in the space in October.
  • That being said, some additional work on the square may be required throughout the rest of this year, Waters said.

Looking back: Johnson County Square unveiled on grounds of old county courthouse

About the author

Kaylie McLaughlin
Kaylie McLaughlin

👋 Hi! I’m Kaylie McLaughlin, and I cover Overland Park and Olathe for the Johnson County Post.

I grew up in Shawnee and graduated from Mill Valley in 2017. I attended Kansas State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2021. While there, I worked for the K-State Collegian, serving as the editor-in-chief. As a student, I interned for the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT in Topeka. I also contributed to the KLC Journal and the Kansas Reflector. Before joining the Post in 2023 as a full-time reporter, I worked for the Olathe Reporter.

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