It can be difficult to decide where to move, and there are both positive and negative aspects of life in nearly every location and city! Overland Park, Kansas is known to be one of the best places to live in the United States, according to some surveys.
More often than not, it is easy to find positive aspects of living in a certain city, but isn’t it important to know the downsides as well? That is why this article will explain the parts about living in Overland Park that may not be so appealing to potential newcomers. This allows people to be well informed and see if life in this city is really the most ideal situation for their needs and desires.
1. Well, it’s in Kansas
Overland Park is the second largest city in the entire state of Kansas. However, Kansas is widely considered to be a rather unexciting state. In fact, Kansas is one of many Midwest states that are consistently referred to as “flyover states”, suggesting that there is nothing worth seeing or visiting there. The term means that these states are only good for flying over while on a trip to a more interesting location.
In fact, the only thing that most people know about Kansas is that Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz lived there! Any more than that would receive responses about flat farmland and tornadoes, both of which are also shown in the Wizard of Oz. Also, every time you leave Kansas, people will most likely quote the movie to you and say, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto”. Something tells me that this joke will get old rather quickly, but anyone willing to try that had better move there and find out.
The city of Overland Park, Kansas is highly conservative in terms of political views. The Republican party, which supports conservative views, has been in power since Kansas received statehood in 1861. This conservativism runs deep, even in the state’s larger cities. The majority of individuals will prefer independence, low taxes, religious views, and the protection of gun rights.
You are likely to see quite a few Trump flags flying around and bumper stickers about guns while in Overland Park and Kansas in general. Clearly, you do not need to be a passionate conservative or staunch Republican to live in the city or make friends. It is important to know, however, that newcomers are aware of these opinions that exist among locals. The best way to make friends would be to be respectful of these beliefs, even if you are more liberal. If this bothers you deeply, Overland Park is not the place for you.
3. Shooting in 2014
Back in 2014, a white supremacist held a gun and opened fire in a public place, killing three people. This tragic occurrence took place at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park.
The event shows a sad time and a sore spot in the city’s history. Locals generally do not like to discuss the event or its repercussions. While it doesn’t have any immediate modern-day impacts on moving to the area, it is a part of the history there and may have some smaller impacts or be mentioned during your time in Overland Park.
4. T-Mobile Largest Employer
T-Mobile is one of the largest employers in all of Overland Park. In fact, the company has a total of more than 5,000 employees based in Overland Park. When one business or company holds the majority of residents as employees, it can often cause monopoly issues to arise. For those who are working for T-Mobile, there may be a negative perspective on you and your coworkers in town. Those who do not work there are likely to feel like outsiders and are often overlooked or looked down upon when people are talking about their jobs.
5. Need a Car
Everything in the city is very spread out. In fact, the city of Overland Park covers approximately 75.64 square miles! There is a considerable distance that needs to be traveled when commuting from residential areas, especially those further out, to reach the businesses and busyness of city life and conveniences.
While there are other options to work around this issue, a car really is almost completely necessary to live comfortably in the Overland Park community. There is limited public transportation in the area, and what is available is not very reliable. Having a car will help you to use your time more efficiently, cut down commute times, and improve your ability to arrive at destinations in a timely manner.
6. Pot Holes
Many locals complain about large potholes that are found throughout the city and on the roads leading further out to areas that are in the countryside. These bumps in the road can cause issues for lower cars. It will also slow down drive times because drivers will be required to move more cautiously on roads, avoiding more dangerous sections, and attempting to protect their cars and themselves while driving safely.
7. Kansas City
Kansas City is both the state capital and the largest city in all of Kansas. With the city located between forty minutes to an hour away by car, Kansas City has an impact on life in Overland Park. Generally, Overland Park will receive some through traffic of cars heading toward Kansas City. This increases the number of automobiles on the roads and can slow commute times within the city.
While they are located close enough to bring commuting traffic, the cities are still a fairly large distance apart. There are not many people who choose to work in one city and commute to the other, most likely due to time constraints and money spent on gas. It is unfortunate, however, that Kansas City brings traffic without many large benefits. Overland Park residents are able to travel to Kansas City for a larger variety of products and stores, health care, entertainment, and other services, but it is not incredibly convenient when considering the travel time.
8. Hot and Muggy Summers
Even though the temperature rarely rises above a solid 98 degrees Fahrenheit, summers in Overland Park, Kansas are hot and muggy. The average temperature from May through September is 79 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, with a peak at 90 degrees Fahrenheit on average in July.
There are generally a lot of clouds in Kansas, but the clearest skies are seen from June through October. Even in the clearest month, August, the sky is clear, or mostly or partly cloudy only 70% of the time.
In addition to the humidity, these hot temperatures can make for miserably hot and sweaty summers. Many people avoid the south during the summer months as much as possible. Be sure to keep this in mind and be prepared if moving to Overland Park, Kansas.
9. Cold, Windy, and Snowy Winters
Winters can be a brutal time for residents of Overland Park. After a hot, wet, muggy summer in the area, the climate will take a speedy turn for the other side. Generally in winter months, the overall temperature will rarely drop below 7 degrees Fahrenheit and generally stays above 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest average temperatures of the year typically occur in January and December. In January, the highest average temperature is around 39 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t warm at all.
The cloudiest part of the year is from October through June, a period of just over 7 months. In February, Overland Park has more clouds than any other time of the year, with an overcast or mostly cloudy sky 50% of the time or higher on average.
Overland Park is at a very high level in terms of tornado risk in the area. In 1 year’s time, the average amount of casualties from tornadoes is 3 in Overland Park, Kansas. This is most definitely something to be aware of when moving to the area. Have a plan ready for you and your family in the case of a tornado in the area if you plan on moving here. In the early 1980s, the area had about 13 tornadoes, which is not comforting if you are planning on moving to the area.
11. Limited Public Transportation
There is an extremely limited selection of public transportation systems and options in Overland Park, Kansas. A single bus service transports passengers around Johnson County, throughout Kansas City, and into Overland Park. Ridesharing is also an option in terms of public transportation. This ridesharing category includes carpooling and park and rides as well. RideKC is a business catered specifically to provide aid for older adults, especially those with a disability, or residents of lower incomes with their travel needs in the Kansas City area.
As is shown on the traffic cameras in Overland Park, traffic is generally light during weekdays in midday hours. There is, however, an increase in traffic during busier hours. True to the standard set by nearly every other US city, traffic is greater during the weekends. There is also considerably more traffic on the roads in the city before 7:30 am and after 5 pm. This is the time that most people with jobs are commuting to and from work, as the normal work day is generally from around 7 am to 5 pm.
13. Stuck Up Rich Groups
Some locals have complained about a large group of people that can be petty and exclusive, especially against those who do not have a lot of money. These individuals have stated that areas of the city where more expensive homes are built have families and individuals that feel they are “better than” or “above” the residents of lower-income areas.
One local even stated on Quora that the area showed more petty behaviors than people did when they lived in California! She also referred to Overland Park as the perfect location for anyone training to be rich, snobby, or famous.
Clearly, not all people are like this, but the complaints have been made, showing that there may, to some extent, be some truth on the matter
14. Nothing to Do
As one might imagine when picturing a town in Kansas, there is not a lot to do in Overland Park. The city has a farmstead, botanical gardens, museums, a 9/11 memorial, a Korean War Veterans Memorial, and a heritage center. These are listed among the top options of activities offered in the entire city.
However, if war memorials and museums aren’t entertaining to you, then you may want to start looking for employment and housing elsewhere. There is not much nightlife or many entertainment options in Overland Park. You will need to travel to Kansas City to be entertained by things other than museums and memorials.
15. Small Shopping Mall
Overland Park, Kansas is not large enough to have an incredibly large shopping selection. In fact, the largest shopping mall there is the Kansas City Metro Area, with is split into two levels and only has five department stores. There are several smaller businesses, but there aren’t nearly as many large or well-known shopping stores as there are in larger cities. This can become frustrating when searching for something specific, especially for those that are accustomed to any level of big-city living.
16. Far from an Airport
The nearest airport is located in Kansas City. This means that to travel anywhere by plane, the residents of Overland Park have to travel all the way to Kansas City, which makes traveling difficult. If you travel often, you shouldn’t move to Overland Park.
17. Highly Religious
In the southern united states, residents are considered to be highly religious, hence the term “the Bible Belt,” which is used to describe this area. There are churches on nearly every corner, and almost every person in town attends church on a semi-regular basis. Many local businesses are closed on Sundays because of this, as no one wants to work on Sundays.
Newcomers will quickly learn that talk of the upcoming church activity, various bible verses, and other religious conversations are rather normal in the area. For anyone working to avoid religion or highly religious populations, Overland Park is not the place for you.