What matters to you matters to Melanie too...

Public Safety

The Lenexa Police Department embraces solutions to support the mental health of our residents, as evidenced by their collaboration with trained mental health professionals to provide community outreach and crisis intervention. I will support solutions directed at removing the task of responding to mental health crisis situations from the police department, and place it in the hands of trained mental health professionals instead. While I would support such a shift in responsibilities, I will NOT support defunding the Lenexa Police Department.

Property Taxes Relief

Lenexa is a fantastic place to live and work. To make Lenexa livable for everyone, it’s imperative to keep residential property taxes low. We shouldn’t have to bribe companies to move here with tax breaks.

But too often, it’s big companies that are lavished with subsidies, rather than small businesses that could really use them. By curbing the development subsidies we are awarding, we can expand our tax base & ensure that homeowners are not bearing most of the burden from property taxes.

After all, what good is all of the new and ongoing development in the city if these new projects don’t give the city much (or any) new tax revenues to pay for the city services they will certainly use (such as: roads, fire, police)?

By being very sparing in our use of corporate subsidies, we can expand our tax base and, over time, reduce the amount that homeowners need to pay for city services.

Community and Inclusion

One of the things I like most about living in Lenexa is living in a neighborhood with people from all walks of life, our distinct sense of community, and our friendly, family atmosphere. The best way to support thriving multicultural communities is through supporting small businesses, promoting language accessibility, and celebrating our community’s diversity through festivals and the arts.

Ad Astra Pool

Ward 3 is home to Ad Astra Pool, which the Lenexa City Council recently voted to keep open. I support this decision, and will continue to advocate for the funding necessary to expand, renovate & upgrade not only Ad Astra Pool, but all of the city's aquatic facilities. Public pools are a vital component of our city's high quality of life, as well as an equity issue. If anything, we should be building more public pools, not closing them down. I stand with the Ward 3 residents who have actively organized to save Ad Astra and thank them for their efforts. I was disappointed to see that my incumbent Councilman, did not respect the wishes of his constituents and vote in favor of keeping Ad Astra open.

Melanie's Governing Philosophy

As a clinical counselor and art therapist, Melanie Arroyo believes in creating a Lenexa that supports the mental & emotional health needs of residents through active and empathic listening.

Planning for the Future

There are several major issues on the horizon. The first issue is the next phase of the “JoCo Gateway” expansion of the 435/I-35/K-10 interchange. This is a massive and expensive project that Lenexa cannot shoulder without help from the state and federal government.

As we have seen in the recent discussions over the Highway 69 expansion in Overland Park, adding lanes and expanding highways is incredibly expensive. Adding one lane in each direction for 9 miles of Highway 69 will cost roughly the same amount as it cost to build the entire 6 miles of the KC Streetcar system. While JoCo Gateway is an important project to Lenexa’s and the metro area’s future, we must take care to ensure it does not crowd out other important projects. This means thinking through the community’s long-term future, and identifying our long-term transportation needs.

Is a massive new highway interchange really the best use of our tax dollars and worth potentially displacing businesses or homeowners? I am skeptical that it is, but we don’t yet know the full scope of its impacts. This is probably the most impactful decision our City Council has before it in the next few years. To make the best decision, we should take a comprehensive look at the city’s needs, engage in a community-wide (or even county-wide) discussion of our transportation priorities, and make sure the voices of all Lenexans are heard.

The other big issues I have heard in my conversations with voters and residents in Ward 3 are maintaining Lenexa’s high-quality city services while keeping taxes reasonable, managing development so that it benefits both the older and newer parts of the city, expanding community supports to be more inclusive of city’s growing diversity, increasing transportation options including protected bike paths and transit, cannabis decriminalization, expanding community health services (esp. mental health services), managing the effects of climate change, and ensuring both housing & residential property taxes remain affordable.

East-West Divide

It’s important that we start by validating the views of our neighbors who feel that this is a real issue. One practical way to address the divide is to ensure that city leaders literally represent both sides of the city through the upcoming redistricting process. At least 2 of Lenexa’s 4 Wards should be revamped during redistricting to take in neighborhoods to the east AND west of 435. That will help ensure that a majority of city leaders will literally represent and hold the best interest of both sections of the city.

Beyond that, improving east-west transportation links–including bike lanes & bus routes–will help knit the city together. 87th Street, which links Lenexa City Center to the city’s eastern neighborhoods, is an obvious candidate for long-term planning and transportation improvements. A bustling 87th Street can also be easily linked to the booming downtown Overland Park district via Santa Fe Drive and to the proposed transit improvements slated for Metcalf.

Looking ahead, Lenexa will need to balance its spending between preserving the quality of existing neighborhoods and promoting future growth. Furthermore, in my conversations with the community, I have heard complaints of how the east side of Lenexa is being disinvested of important community resources such as our police station and library. And as if these losses weren’t already disappointing enough, residents were surprised to learn of the proposed closure of Ad Astra Pool. Corey Hunt put it on record that he agreed to closing the pool, and was unable to attend the City Council meeting involving the final decision on the pool. Thankfully, the proposal was rejected by the City Council, but this is another example of ways that residents from the Eastern part of Lenexa feel like their city council leaders are not really listening.

If elected, I will put the listening skills I have honed as a clinical counselor to good use when it comes to concerned residents advocating for their neighborhoods, whether they are east or west of 435.

What issues matter to you? Let Melanie know!

See up a time to chat at your convenience by emailing or by calling (913) 279-0407.