Partnership since: 1999
Population: approx. 173.300
Location: Overland Park is located in the heart of Kansas State and approximately 9 kilometres away from Kansas City. It is the second largest city in the state of Kansas and is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
County: Johnson County
Mayor: Curt Skoog
Social Media: @cityofoverlandpark; @opcares
Establishing the partnership
The official partnership was established in 1999. However, the friendship goes back to 1979 when the municipal music school of Bietigheim-Bissingen and the orchestras of the Shawnee Mission Schools first made contacts in 1979. David Wolfe from the US school board was the first contact and organizer of these early visits. Since 1984, the two orchestras have been traveling regularly every two years. All those involved were engaged personally to ensure that the friendship grew and could be further developed.
In the middle of the 19th century, white settlers in the former Shawnees area began to grow wheat - the origin of a development that gave Kansas the name "bread basket of the USA" 100 years later. Today's Shawnee Mission North school goes back to a first makeshift arrangement for these settler families - a real schoolhouse was not built until 1873, and the Shawnee Mission Rural School was established in 1927. From 1885, the Henderson family ran the Glenn Post Office, after which this first settlement was named Glenn Community.
The railroad builder William Strang Jr. gave the place the name Overland Park in 1906: He planned a community with a park-like character for families and city dwellers looking for relaxation, for which appropriate facilities and a railway line from Kansas City to the southwest of Johnson County was established. The idea was a success - the place grew quickly. In 1909, the Home Telephone Company with 7 telephones was set up in a shop, and in 1910, Strang founded the Overland State Bank with other citizens. Where William Strang developed his vision of a park-city landscape, a large clock tower now marks the city centre.
The Kansas City rail line was abandoned in 1940, but Overland Park grew into a thriving community and was established as town in 1960. The population has since grown from 28.000 to over 170.000
Overland Park today
The increasing relocation of companies away from the Pacific coast towards the middle of the USA has brought Overland Park a strong growth within a few years. Good road and rail connections to the coasts, attractive tax rates and high employment rates have resulted in impressive economic power.
The "College Boulevard" complex is an impressive example of steady growth through the settlement of more and more new companies - and the "Business Parks Corporate Woods" and "South Creek Office Park" are constantly being expanded.
The most important company in the city, however, is the telecommunications company Sprint. The world headquarters comprises a collection of 17 buildings with an area of 360.000 square meters on 200 hectares. The first buildings opened in 1997 when Sprint consolidated its operations across 50 buildings in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Most of the buildings are four and five stories high, with the tallest building being a 53-meter tower. There is an amphitheatre for 3.000 people on campus; parking garages for 12.500 cars; sports fields as well as hiking and biking trails with 6.000 trees that are connected to public hiking trails outside the campus.
The city in the American Midwest is characterized by outstanding urban development, modern schools, the best infrastructure, stable economic conditions and an interest in culture and sports.
Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens - Overland Park's arboretum and botanical gardens span 120 hectares just outside of Kansas City. The nature reserve is criss-crossed by walking and hiking trails that lead through a series of gardens with different ecosystems.
Deanna Rose Farm - the farm has a petting zoo and flower gardens.
New Theatre Restaurant - Broadway musicals are performed as a special highlight with over 600 seats.
Culture, sport and leisure opportunities
numerous golf courses and over 70 parks with walking and cycling paths as well as fishing opportunities are available.