A greenway is defined as a corridor of open space, varying in scale from narrow strips of green to wider corridors, which incorporate diverse natural, cultural and scenic features. Connectivity is the defining characteristic that distinguishes greenways from isolated paths and pockets of open space. While individual parks, preserved lands, undisturbed natural areas and waterways are valuable resources in and of themselves, their environmental and recreational value is compounded when they are linked together.
The greenways can accommodate a multitude of recreational activities and provide cultural and/or conservation opportunities. These greenways are considered multipurpose since they serve both human and wildlife interests. The greenways are not only valued for their recreational, environmental and cultural functions, but for their ability to provide connections between neighborhoods, activity centers, and recreation and community facilities.
Sometimes overlooked are Olathe’s significant natural resources. These creeks, streams, floodways and wetland systems will form the basis of an expanded greenway and regional trail system. The Primary Greenway system will be comprised of the most significant streamways in Olathe, including Cedar Creek, Mill Creek, Indian Creek, and Coffee Creek. Major parks such as Heritage Park, Lone Elm Park, Lake Olathe, Ernie Miller Nature Center, and the Future Cedar Niles Park will anchor the greenway system. A smaller Secondary Greenway system will link neighborhoods and commercials centers to the primary greenway system. Greenways will not be an afterthought, but instead a deliberate effort to create one of the regions’ most notable linear park systems. The purpose of this system is not only to meet the community’s transportation and recreation needs, but to provide a “green infrastructure” system of interconnected open spaces and natural areas that naturally manage stormwater, reduce flooding risk, improve water quality, and reduce the City’s future infrastructure needs.