Lenexa, Kansas Rain to Recreation Program

Lenexa, Kansas funded a robust green infrastructure program - "Rain to Recreation" - by pairing the city's Storm Systems Development Charge (a 1/8 cent sales tax) and a capital development charge, along with available sources of local, state and federal funding. Combining multiple sources of funding enables Lenexa to have more long-term and sustainable funding for this program. The Rain to Recreation Program stormwater management approach integrates the community by creating recreational opportunities, while addressing flood control and water quality issues.

The objectives of the Rain to Recreation Program are to (1) reduce flooding, (2) conserve water quality, (3) protect and restore the natural environment, and (4) provide recreational and education opportunities. In order to achieve these goals, Lenexa is using the natural features of the land to slow stormwater along the system, has improved water quality by filtering through the land and native vegetation, and has built new lakes to provide regional retention for new development.

A variety of capital projects and associated Park Master Plans were completed in the region to support green stormwater management including three lakes (regional retention facilities) and numerous stream restorations. The Program also constructed storm drainage projects in the older parts of the City, removing at least 68 homes from the flood plain.  

Many of the capital projects also include stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that are designed to help protect downstream water bodies by using landscaping techniques and native plantings, or green infrastructure. Lenexa’s public and privately owned BMPs are regularly inspected by the city during construction and periodically after completion to verify performance. The city works with owners and maintenance contractors to ensure that once BMPs are installed, they are kept in working order to provide the intended water protection and flood control benefits.

The following is a list of common BMPs used in Lenexa:

  • Bioretention
  • Extended Detention Wetland
  • Extended Dry Detention Basin
  • Extended Wet Detention Basin
  • Native Preservation Area
  • Native Vegetation Swale
  • Pervious pavement
  • Proprietary Stormwater Treatment Unit
  • Rain Gardens

As described by the City of Lenexa, in 1998, they began developing the new stormwater management program through a a comprehensive watershed management study, in which the cost of doing business the traditional way was compared to a “greener” way of addressing storm water infrastructure needs. Lenexa found that the green approach would save the city and the development community nearly $25 million dollars or approximately 25% of capital costs through the course of the build out of the city. This savings would be achieved by (1) regionalization of storm water management through a watershed based approach, (2) prevention versus reaction, and (3) the use of less hard infrastructure (i.e., curbs, gutters and pipes). 


Related Organizations:

  • City of Lenexa, Kansas

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Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Funding program

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