Overland Park, Kansas Celebrates Dedication of Thompson Park

August 26, 2020
Landscape Architecture Parks & Open Space

RDG’s design for the park fulfills a critical component of the City’s push to attract and retain residents and businesses to its downtown.

RDG Planning & Design joined the City of Overland Park, Kansas to celebrate the official dedication of the City’s new Thompson Park. Previously known as Santa Fe Commons Park, the space was renamed in honor of downtown Overland Park business owners and philanthropists Frank and Evangeline Thompson. RDG’s master plan and subsequent design are the result of a robust collaboration between the city’s staff and council, a steering committee and Overland Park citizens.

Thompson Park serves as a vibrant greenspace for gathering, playing and relaxing. RDG’s design incorporates interactive features to encourage imaginative play, including a splash pad and a play area with a crawl tunnel, climbing structure, spinner, swings and musical instruments. A newly constructed stage features an iconic paper airplane-shaped awning, a nod to the city’s significant aviation history, and offers a venue for the city to host concerts and other entertainment events. The existing carriage house, which was originally built by Overland Park founder William Strang, has been renovated and now serves as a modern event space.

Thompson Park in Overland Park, Kansas. Photo by IRIS22 Productions.

“The redevelopment of Thompson Park is part of the community’s investment in establishing a walkable city center where residents can truly live, work and play,” said RDG Landscape Architect and Partner Bruce Niedermyer, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP. “Guided by the directive to create a definitive destination, the park fulfills a critical component of the city’s push to attract and retain residents and businesses to its downtown.”

Set across 3.8 acres in Overland Park’s downtown, construction for the $3.2 million project began in 2018. In addition to the splash pad, play area and performance stage, the park includes two open-air shelters, new restrooms, various seating areas, a custom fountain and sculpture and an outdoor working space with electrical outlets and Wi-Fi.

“We’ve received many positive comments from patrons expressing their appreciation for keeping the history in the park while adding current and up-to-date amenities,” said Overland Park Manager of Parks & Forestry, Scott Shierk. “Every day there are children using the splash pad and playground and parents enjoying the park. People come out of their homes or offices to work in the park on nice days and utilize the WiFi. This is what we envisioned for this park: all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons, coming to enjoy it on a regular basis.”

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director