About Leawood

Leawood, Kansas, a suburban community in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, is located in Johnson County, approximately 10 miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, MO. It covers 14.7 square miles and resembles an elongated rectangle running north/south. Interstate-435 crosses through the City and is just north of the center of the community. The City is bordered on three sides by the cities of Overland Park and Prairie Village, Kansas and on the fourth by Kansas City, Missouri. The City’s land area is approximately 75% developed and growth is expected to continue in the future.

Leawood History

With more than 60 years of tradition, Leawood, Kansas, set in northeast Johnson County, is both a premier residential community and a prestigious business address. The City features an inviting mix of elegant established neighborhoods, new high-profile developments and distinctive office buildings. Leawood truly combines the best of historic tradition with the momentum of the contemporary.

Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area eventually established as Leawood and in the early 1700’s Daniel Boone explored the land with French and American traders. Among those who made Leawood what it is today was Oscar G. Lee, a retired police officer from Oklahoma. When Lee arrived in 1922, he brought with him a lifetime of dreams about his own future. He sought to make those dreams real on land he purchased between what is now 79th and 103rd Streets and State Line and Belinder Roads. This purchase became the foundation of present-day Leawood. Then in 1948, following the establishment of a housing development by the Kroh brothers, Leawood was incorporated.

From the start, the residents of Leawood hoped and planned for a tightly knit community with the convenience of a big city and the peacefulness of a small town. Today, with picturesque parks and streets, highly rated schools and welcoming churches, Leawood is all that the founders had envisioned.

Additional Resources

Demographics

Over the last 20 years, the City has had one of the fastest growing populations in the State of Kansas and is considered one of the top growth areas in the country. The City expects to reach an estimated population of 38,875 within the next 10-15 years, and has a master development plan in place to guide future development.

The 2010 Census showed a total city population of 31,867. The population in the 1990 U.S. Census was 19,693 and in the 2000 US Census it was 27,656. As shown in the table, the City’s population has more than doubled since 1980. The City estimates that population will increase approximately .5% annually. Similarly, the entire area has experienced substantial growth. According to the 2010 Census, the State of Kansas experienced a 6.1% growth in population from the 2000 census; the County saw a 20.6% growth; and Leawood a 15.2% increase. Currently Johnson County makes up 19% of the total population for the state of Kansas.

Population of Leawood and Johnson County by Year
Year City Of Leawood Johnson County
2020 Census. 33,902 609,863
2010 Census 31,867 544,179
2000 Census 27,656 451,086
1990 Census 19,693 355,054
1980 Census 13,360 270,269
1970 Census 10,645 220,073

Socioeconomic Profile

The City of Leawood’s socioeconomic profile can be characterized by high levels of population growth, educational attainment, and home values. The City attracts many upper-middle to high-income families moving into the area for the first time or from surrounding cities. The City is home to the State’s wealthiest zip code, 66211. The following is a list of comparative statistical information for the City, based on the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau.

Demographics of Leawood, KS
City of Leawood Johnson County State of Kansas United States
Median Age 44.7 36.4 37.4 37.2
Owner Occupied Housing Units 92.4% 70.8% 67.8% 65.1%
Bachelor Degreed Adults 74.3% 51.6% 30.0% 28.5%
Median Income Household $134,242 $75,139 $51,273 $53,046
Families Below Poverty Level 3.0% 6.4% 13.2% 14.9%
Median Home Value $391,700 $211,900 $127,400 $181,400

Leawood has been fortunate to consistently remain below the national and state averages for unemployment rates throughout the years. The annual averages are shown in the below graph for Kansas, Johnson County and Leawood.

Unemployment

Natural Features & Climate

The City is considered one of the most beautiful communities in northeastern Kansas. The land, characteristic of this part of the state, consists of flat valleys and gently rolling hills. Indian Creek and Tomahawk Creek waterways connect in central Leawood and the Blue River flows through the southern part of the City.

Average Temperature in Fahrenheit (January – June)
January February March April May June
25.2 30.0 46.0 53.8 64.6 75.8
Average Temperature in Fahrenheit (July – December)
July August September October November December
76.0 75.3 67.7 57.5 46.3 36.5

Fast Facts

The incorporation of the City of Leawood in 1948 set a standard against which all other Johnson County cities would eventually be judged. Leawood is widely recognized as a desirable place to live and work. Leawood is continuing to design an exciting future city with a prospering business climate as well as a fully preserved and enhanced quality of life.

Date of Incorporation: November 30, 1948
Form of Government: Mayor / Council
Separately elected Mayor
8 Council Members
Non-Partisan Basis
4 year, Staggered Terms
Population: 1990 Census = 19,693
2000 Census = 27,656
2010 Census = 31,867
Education: 4 Elementary Schools
2 Middle Schools
3 Parochial Schools
Churches: 7 Protestant
3 Catholic
Public Safety: 1 Police Station
3 Patrol Districts
61 Sworn Officers
3 Fire Stations
52 Firefighters
Recreation: 1 Aquatic Center
6 Tennis Courts
17 Fields
8.25 Trail Miles
1 18-hole Golf Course
6 Parks
486 Parkland Acres
Public Works: Maintenance of:
201.8 Street Miles
4,093 Street Lights

Sister Cities Relationships

The Sister City relationships are intended to foster and promote friendly relations and mutual understanding between peoples of the City of Leawood and peoples of friendly nations outside of the United States of America.

It is intended that people of Leawood and similar cities of foreign nations acquire a consciousness and understanding of one another as individuals, members of their community and citizens of their country as part of the family of nations.

We cultivate such knowledge through a continuing relationship of mutual concern.

I-Lan, Taiwan

The first Sister City relationship was established in October 7, 1988 between Leawood and I-Lan, Taiwan.  The relationship was initially suggested by Councilman Jimmy Lin.

The Leawood Delegation traveled to Taiwan to officially sign documents.  The visit occurred in October during their National Day celebrations.

Members of the delegation included:
Mayor Marcia Rinehart, Councilmen Jimmy Lin and T. Robert Newlin, Kansas State Senator, Paul Burke and Official Delegates; Kathleen Nicholas, Loman Lin, Sophie Lin, Arlene Lindley, Clint Lindley, Richard Rinehart

Two plaques were presented to the City of Leawood during the signing ceremony.

  • One plaque from the City Hall under the supervision of Mayor of I-Lan reads “Friendship is without borders and hand in hand to enhance the world”
  • The second plaque from I-Lan’s City Council’s office under the supervision of the City Council President reads “Friendship is priceless”.

The first delegation from I-Lan was entertained in Leawood between Christmas and New Years in December of 1988.

The I-Lan Sister City Committee was formed in May of 1992.

A Chinese dinner was held in October or 1992 to broaden the awareness of the Sister City Relationship with I-Lan.  Each year since 1993, the City of Leawood has celebrated Lunar New Year with a dinner featuring Chinese food and entertainment. The first Lunar New Year celebration ushered in the year of the Rooster.

I-lan, shih (municipality) and seat of I-lan hsien (county), northeastern Taiwan, the center of the only sizable alluvial basin on the island’s mountainous eastern coast.  The basin itself was largely formed as the delta of the Cho-Shui River and is about 30 miles from north to south.  I-lan city lies in the center of this plain on the Lan River.  The plain is a fertile rice-producing region, and I-lan is a major rice market.  The I-lan area was largely settled by Chinese.  There is some minor industry, mainly papermaking and the manufacture of fertilizers. Population (2007 est.) 96,094.

The natural beauty of I-lan flows like an enchanted river.  The surrounding county is lush with waterfalls, lakes, rivers and botanical gardens.  You can spend your vacation immersed in a watery paradise, swimming, surfing, white water rafting or simply taking in the scenery.  If you prefer to soak up culture, Yilan offers museums that highlight traditional crafts and natural wonders, including Bei Guan Leisure Farm, known for its exhibits of live crabs that live in boiling volcanic springs.

Taiwan became a Democracy in 1988.  Taiwan is a Sovereign State and not subject to the rules of Mainland China or vice versa.

Gezer Region of Israel

Leawood’s second Sister City relationship was established on September 16, 2003 between Leawood and the Regional Council Gezer, Israel. (pronounced “Geh-zer”)

The relationship was formed in the interest of peace and in the spirit of cooperation, tolerance and mutual understanding between Leawood and the Regional Council of Gezer.

In early 2001, Mayor Dunn received a visit from the Head of the Jewish Federation, Todd Stetner, who was accompanied by Leawood resident Jim Badzin and Shimon Binoun, who was the Gezer Regional Manager. They were seeking an area in the United States to potentially form a relationship. In addition to Leawood, Overland Park, Wichita and Johnson County were under consideration. The City of Leawood was the only interested party in further exploring the possibility.  Leawood viewed the relationship as a wonderful opportunity.

With the advent of 911 in September of 2001, communications stalled.  In March of 2002, the City considered a visit to the Gezer Region, but was informed by the State Department that it was not a good time for international travel.

In the summer of 2002, the mayor and City Administrator received an invitation for an official visit from Project Interchange funded by the American Jewish Committee that included ten individuals from across the United States. Marvin Szneler, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee (JCRB/AJC) was also invited to accompany the group.  The delegation visit to Israel encompassed a seven-day, all-day seminar format with speakers and opportunities to learn about the Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis that lived throughout the area.  While still not a favorable time to travel, the group decided to go ahead with the trip.

The Mayor’s group stayed two additional days at the end of Project Interchange to meet with officials in the Gezer Regional Council to learn and examine the areas of the Gezer Region. This wonderful experience fostered the desire to proceed with the relationship. From July 2002 to September of 2003, the groups worked together to establish a resolution of agreement to become Sister Cities.  Via a visual, real-time conference, Mayor Peggy Dunn and the Leawood Governing Body and Mayor Peter Weiss and the Gezer Regional Council signed the agreement simultaneously.

There have been active cultural exchanges where delegation members have been educated regarding municipal policy, management, economics, science, high tech industries, cultural arts, education, sports, trade and technology. Members of official delegations have included representatives of political and administrative bodies, members of social organizations, societies, schools and universities. Both cities have encouraged youth exchanges to further develop the relationships.

Gezer was an ancient royal Canaanite city-state in the foothills of the Judaean Mountains at the border of the Shfela region.  It became a major fortified city in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE, later destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Gezer is often mentioned in the Old Testament and in the Egyptian records of the New Kingdom, from Thutmose III (1479–26 bc) to Merneptah (1213–04 bc). The Amarna letters mention kings of Gezer swearing loyalty to the Egyptian Pharaoh. It wasn’t until Solomon’s reign, hundreds of years later, that Gezer became part of the Israeli empire. It happened only because an Egyptian Pharaoh devastated the city, then offered it to Solomon as a dowry when the king married his daughter.

The Gezer Region is located approximately halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Its importance was due to the strategic position above a crossroads of the Via Maris (the "Way of the Sea") and the road to Jerusalem and Jericho, both important trade routes which serviced traders, warriors and travelers for thousands of years. There were strong commercial connections between Gezer and Egypt and pictures of the ancient city have been found in both Egypt and Mesopotamia (Iraq).

In 1948, U.S. President Harry S. Truman officially recognized the State of Israel. Coincidentally, that same year, Leawood was incorporated as a City.

Tel Gezer, an archaeological site, is now an Israeli National Park.  Discoveries that are related to biblical archaeology include eight monumental megaliths from one of the largest Canaanite temples in Israel, an imposing Solomonic six-chambered gate identical in almost every detail to the two gates at Hazor and Megiddo and a double cave beneath the high area probably used for divinatory purposes. Thirteen inscribed boundary stones make it the first positively identified Biblical city. A large water system with a tunnel descending to a spring is similar to that found in Jerusalem.

Leawood Park in Gezer

Dedicated by the people of Gezer to the people of Leawood, the park is comprised of the Leawood Square, and the Leawood Trail. This park was dedicated in October of 2011 during a visit by a delegation from Leawood. Members of the delegation, which included Mayor Peggy Dunn and several members of the City Council, were fortunate to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Leawood Square’s central feature is a large sculpture of Shimon Hatarsi, the last son of the Hashmonaim, created by Gezer artist Enon DeGroot. A painting by DeGroot hangs in the lobby of Leawood City Hall.

The Leawood Trail is a wide paved and lighted walking path. There is signage along the path, one sign pointing in the direction of Gezer municipal offices indicating a distance of 220 yards and another pointing in the opposite direction of the City of Leawood, Kansas indicating a distance of 6,887 miles.

Gezer Park

Leawood honored its sister city, the Gezer Region of Israel, and celebrated their historic bond of friendship with the establishment of Gezer Park in October of 2009. A delegation from Gezer attended the dedication of the park.

The unique design of the park reflects the contours of the State of Israel, with the Sea of Galilee on one end and the Dead Sea on the other – connected by a 700 foot stone wadi that carries water from the west end to the east end of the park, representing the Jordan River.

The park’s landscaping has incorporated plant and tree life native to Kansas that most closely resembles that of the Gezer Region. The east end of the park features a celebration area that includes a Havdalah garden, complete with aromatic herbs and flowers, and a shelter that can be draped to create a sukkah. Adjacent to this is a fire pit area where people gather for special occasions and ceremonies.

Natural stone harvested and transported from Jerusalem adorns the parks structures, while the grape vines and ancient planting calendar remind us of our shared agricultural roots. Rolling hills on the northern edge of the park symbolize the Golan Heights.

At the west end is the children’s play area adjoined to an archaeological dig site designed to educate children about the rich history of the Gezer Region, as well as supporting our shared future.

Public art has been incorporated at two locations: “Avanim Vetseiadim” (Stones & Steps) and “Harvest Tablet” both created by Israeli artists Ilan Averbach and Gadi Fraiman, respectively. The tablet is a replica of the famous Gezer Calendar, excavated from the Tel Gezer site between 1902 and 1909.

The park’s many features pay tribute to our sister city and will serve to educate and connect American and Israeli communities for generations to come.