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Businesses both big and small helping little Merriam grow

MERRIAM, Kan. -- Thanks to a blend of big-name stores and unique mom-and-pop shops, Merriam is expanding, and city officials hope it continues to do just that.

The city of Merriam stretches 4.3 square miles. Located along Interstate 35, it's known for its location within northeast Johnson County and its prominent stores.

A bird's eye view of Merriam

One of the biggest draws: IKEA.

"We have a lot of unique, cool shopping things to begin with, but IKEA definitely brought in a new crowd of people to our community," said Karen Crane with the Merriam Visitors Bureau.

With a growing arts scene, a shiny new community center in the works and the expansion of local shops, there's a lot happening in Merriam.

"In the next 5 to 10 years, I think we will have some additional development on Shawnee Mission Parkway," said Christopher Engel, the city administrator for Merriam.

Engel said the city plans to develop the site of the former Kmart, making room for possible dining and entertainment space.

A new community center is also planned for the summer of 2020, replacing the former facility that is nearly 100 years old.

Next time you visit Merriam, you'll also notice a growing arts scene. A 5-year public art program is helping to beautify areas of the city where you can interact with the artwork or even snap a picture.

When it comes to the growth in Merriam, perhaps no one knows it better than Anton Krutz, who opened KC Strings in Merriam decades ago. Now, his business has expanded to four buildings with clients around the world.

"We've always loved being in Merriam," he said. "It`s been wonderful for the growth here, and we've been able to expand."

Editor's note: This is part of a new segment where FOX4 looks at the "Cool Cities" in our area on Thursday nights during FOX 4 News. But we need your help! 

Post your photos on social media using #FOX4CoolCities or drop us a line on Facebook to tell us what you love about your city. Next Thursday night, we're headed to Liberty. Tell us what we should check out!