Arboretum visitor center project moves forward

The City of Overland Park will begin construction on a new visitor center at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens this summer.

The new visitor center will add 22,000 square feet of community space at the Arboretum. It will include a cafe, gift shop, exhibits and hands-on learning, and rental spaces for weddings, corporate meetings and community events.

The contemporary design of the building will provide panoramic views to the outdoor areas of the Arboretum, including new entry gardens, a reflecting pool and the great lawn. A video rendering of the new facility is available below.

“The Arboretum is a major cultural amenity for our community,” said Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach. “This project is something many people who feel passionately about preserving this space have been working on for many years, and it will only serve to enhance this excellent facility.”

At its Monday night meeting, the Overland Park City Council approved a final step to begin construction on the visitor center. A change order approved an increase in construction costs for the new visitor center, which is expected to cost approximately $22.7 million to build.

The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park raised $11 million in private donations to support the construction of the new visitor center. 

“We thank the Foundation for their partnership in improving and promoting Overland Park, and the work they’ve done to make this project a reality” Gerlach said.

The City’s Capital Improvements Program funds the remainder of the project cost.

The new visitor center will be located just west of Margaret’s Pond and Byrd’s Grove. Traffic flow through the Arboretum will shift after construction is complete, to provide visitors access to the new building. Construction on the project will also include expanded parking for more than 200 vehicles.

The visitor center is considered a first phase master plans for the Arboretum. The master plan includes a great lawn, a sculpture garden trail, a chapel and more. Later phases of the master plans are not funded at this time.

The City plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in July. Construction is expected to be complete in 2022.

To contribute to this project, visit the Arts and Recreation Foundation of Overland Park website.


Meg Ralph Digital Communications Supervisor City Manager’s Office 913-895-6160