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OVERLAND PARK Kan. — Starting next week, Johnson County, Kansas, will be using a new location as a vaccination site in Lenexa, but some Overland Park City Council members want it at the convention center.

“To not use a centrally located facility like this is a huge disservice,” Councilman Scott Hamblin said.

Hamblin said back in January the city agreed to let Johnson County use the convention center as a mass vaccination site.

“We specifically said we promised them that our facility, including the convention center, stood ready at any time,” Hamblin said.

But he said when the county was ready, it was told the convention center was booked.

“It’s unlikely that they got booked up in the last few months,” Hamblin said. “It’s a transparency issue. They should’ve been transparent upfront.”

Now the county is using about $400,000 of federal cash to rent a warehouse in Lenexa.

In a statement Johnson County Government said:

“When investigating locations for a temporary, dedicated COVID-19 vaccination clinic, Johnson County Government considered several available spaces in the community. We assessed dozens of properties based on size, location, accessibility, parking, and flexibility of space for vaccination operations, cost, condition, and availability. 

“The biggest factor was gaining the ability to have complete control of the facility giving us the flexibility to plan for varying days and hours of operation. The space we selected in Lenexa best met our specifications. We appreciate everyone who suggested a building as a potential vaccination clinic site.”

Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach said the city had been working with the county for a year and never refused the convention center as a vaccination site, but he said the county never reached out again for dates.

“They talked to Brett Mitchell, who is the general manager of the convention center, and he gave them the available dates and they said thank you they were just doing their homework,” Gerlach said.

Hamblin said even if the convention center is booked, the city has the authority to cancel upcoming events.