Some Johnson County homeowners upset because county wants their homes for parking lot

Posted: 7:00 PM, Jul 14, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-14 20:00:45-04

Johnson County is planning to build a new courthouse, but it needs 300 additional parking spots.

The county is planning to tear down several homes near the new courthouse site for parking spaces. The area is bounded by Kansas Avenue, North Cherry Street, East Poplar Street, and East Spruce Street.

Some homeowners are devastated that they are losing their homes.

Mary Ann Verhulst and her husband own three houses in the area targeted to become a parking lot. They just remodeled one of the houses, adding new flooring, cabinets, and windows.

"He (her husband) feels bad that all that hard work is going to be a parking lot," said Verhulst.

When designers were planning the new Johnson County Courthouse, they were counting on using a parking lot near the site that's owned by Olathe. Now, Olathe is planning to turn that parking lot into a new development with shopping and restaurants. 

Johnson County Facilities Director Brad Reinhardt said the county looked at other options, but the group of homes is the only viable option.

"We have contracts pending with some of the homeowners to buy their homes, and we are negotiating with others. We will work with them to make sure the price we offer is fair," said Reinhardt. 

Verhulst is devastated. Some of the homes in the tear down area are 100 years old.  

"You feel like you've been put out but it's the reality of life," Verhulst concluded.