Overland Park is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of Kansas. Located in Johnson County, it has traditionally been considered a satellite city of Kansas City, Missouri, and is located adjacent to Olathe, Lenexa, Prairie Village and Leawood. The population was 149,080 at the 2000 census and was estimated at 171,231 in the 2008 census data. Overland Park has consistently ranked in the top 10 of CNN/Money and Money magazine's 100 Best Cities to Live in the United States. In the 2008 rankings, Overland Park placed 9th. Additionally, the city was ranked as one of "The Best Places to Raise Your Kids in 2009" and was ranked 3rd for "America's 10 Best Places to Grow Up".
The city traces its roots back to 1905, with the arrival of its founder, William B. Strang Jr. who plotted subdivisions along a military roadway on 600 acres he purchased that are now part of the old downtown area. One of those subdivisions was named Overland Park, and was the site for the first airplane flight west of the Mississippi with shows by the Wright brothers, sponsored by Strang, on December 24, 1909.
Overland Park Today
The city was incorporated as a second-class city on May 20, 1960, making it one of the youngest communities in Johnson County. Its initial population was 28,085 and was bounded by Antioch Road (West), 107th Street (South), Chadwick (East) and I-35 (North). In 1960 the population was 28,085 with 17.2 square miles incorporated. By 1990 the population was 111,790 and in 1995 the incorporated land area was 56.6 square miles. Since 1995, the population has grown to 171,231 in 2008 with 72 square miles of land area. Overland Park is now the second most populous city in Kansas.
The city is home to Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a 300 acre arboretum and botanical garden. The Oak Park Mall is one of the area's top shopping locations with Nordstrom, 2 Dillards, Macy's, JC Penney's and over 180 major stores.
The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, a 12-acre, free attraction, is among the top 10 tourist destinations in the Kansas City area. It has more than 200 animals, hay rides, fishing pond, early 1900s century school house and more. It was recognized in August 2008 as the top "family" attraction in Kansas City by the Nickelodeon Channel.
Overland Park has finished construction on a 12-field tournament-quality soccer complex. All the fields have synthetic turf and lights. It has an irrigation system to cool the turf on hot days.
The city is also home to Overland Park Convention Center.
Historic Downtown Overland Park features the Farmer's Market, the clocktower plaza and a statue of Overland Park City founder William B. Strang Jr.
The largest employer in Overland Park is Sprint Nextel Corporation, which is home to the Sprint world headquarters following a brief move to Reston, VA after Sprint's merger with Nextel. Its campus occupies 240 acres in the city, and employs about 18,500 people. The city is also the headquarters for YRC Worldwide, local telecommunications carrier Embarq, restaurant chain Applebee’s, and the employee-owned Black & Veatch Corporation. The Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, Spring Hill and Olathe school districts also employ several thousand people in the city.