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  • FOX4 News Kansas City

    Olathe businesses having to relocate due to I-35, Santa Fe Corridor Project

    By Regan Porter,

    2024-06-11

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1v6fFT_0toHGwUr00

    OLATHE, Kan. – A more than $200 million “makeover” of one of the Kansas City area’s busiest interchanges means nearby businesses will be on the move.

    The Olathe interchange at I-35 and Santa Fe has seen an increase in crashes. Now, the business owners are hoping for a fair shake.

    They’re being forced to relocate to help make that corridor safer.

    “I don’t know where I’m moving or what they’re buying it for,” Owner Gold Work’s George Horochowski said. “Everybody’s still in the same boat.”

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    Horochowski is has owned his building for more than two decades off Santa Fe and Lindenwood.

    He’s one of multiple businesses located in the orange area on a map the City of Olathe sent FOX4. Those business are facing possible relocation due to the I-35 and Santa Fe Corridor Project.

    The orange area on the map is what the city plans to acquire, but the city said it’s still early in the project.

    Right now, more than a dozen businesses will need to find new homes.

    “In order to make adequate room for an updated Santa Fe/I-35 interchange, the City of Olathe has had several touchpoints with owners and tenants we anticipate will be impacted by the project. In an attempt to have meaningful, respectful two-way dialog, the City of Olathe is working far in advance of our typical property acquisition timelines for public infrastructure improvement projects,” Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for the City of Olathe Cody Kennedy said.

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    The city said the improvements will enhance safety and ease traffic congestion. They said according to resident surveys, that has been a priority for people who live here.

    Horochowski sees the traffic and hears about wrecks in this area all the time, he just wishes, the fix didn’t cost him his building.

    “I felt pretty down because when I got this building, I thought I’d be here forever,” Horochowski said. “I’d be here as long as I wanted to stay because again it’s a half block off of Santa Fe.”

    The city of Olathe said the project design is about 60% done. They said one option is widening Santa Fe to six lanes from the highway to Lindenwood.

    “Should be safer,” Mario Maloku said.

    While it seems to be safer better for people on the roads, Maloku said he’s one of the businesses that will be forced out. He’s the co-owner of Toni’s Italian Restaurant in Olathe.

    “Moving an apartment is difficult,” Maloku said, “let alone a whole business.”

    Over the last six years, they’ve built their restaurant from the ground up.

    “I hope they treat everybody with respect because all these businesses that are forced to move from these locations, it’s going to be very difficult,” Maloku said, “this is people’s livelihood.”

    Horochowski said he’s been eyeing ‘for sale’ signs, but said it’s tough to find a good location close to his clientele.

    “There’s not many places in Olathe available,” Horochowski said, “most places are occupied.”

    “Through all steps of the property acquisition and subsequent relocation process, the City will be collaborative with property owners and tenants and will proceed in accordance with all local and federal property acquisition and relocation requirements,” Kennedy said.

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    “I don’t know what they mean. Are they going to point down the street and say there’s an empty store? Or are they going to financially help us? That hasn’t come yet. they said they’re still working to get appraisers with the city.”

    The city said construction is expected to start in the next two or three years.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV | News, Weather, Sports.

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