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Long-time Kansas City planner Ralph Ochsner retires

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Linda Van Hoosen, Communications

 Ralph Ochsner, a long-time planner and owner of Ochsner Hare & Hare, the oldest landscape architecture firms in the United States, is retiring after 60 years of service in his field.

Ochsner grew up in Oklahoma. A city planner for the City of Stillwater, Ochsner didn’t know at the time that he would eventually run a firm that had a long and well-known history in landscape architecture. In 1963, his career took him to Independence, Missouri, where he took on the position of director of planning for the city. From there, he became Director of Planning for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. In 1969, he left to start his own private planning consulting firm, Ochsner and Associates.

Ochsner and Associates focused on comprehensive plans, community plans, ordinance writing, redevelopment planning and community planning department assistance. In 1979, Ochsner decided it was time to expand his firm.

“I picked up the phone and called Hare & Hare and asked if they might to be for sale,” Ochsner said. “As it turned out, they were.”

Hare & Hare was started in 1910 by the father-son team of Sid and Herbert Hare, icons of the Midwestern design scene. Some of the firm’s landmark work in Kansas City includes the Country Club Plaza, Loose Park, Ward Parkway and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

Ochsner was a longtime admirer of the Hares’ work. Once the two companies joined, Ochsner Hare & Hare (OHH) provided planning and landscape architecture services. Ochsner focused on providing clients a broad range of services from project start-up, conceptualization, financing, funding and entitlements, to full land planning and design services through construction. The ability to think big and focus on detail has been a hallmark of the firm since its inception. OHH projects include parks and destination retail, such as Legends at Village West in Kansas City and Aksarben Village in Omaha.

In 2014, Ochsner Hare & Hare merged with Olsson Associates to become Ochsner Hare & Hare, a Design Studio of Olsson Associates. Olsson is a multipractice engineering and design firm with nearly 30 offices in the Midwest and Southwest United States.

Ralph Ochsner’s work extends beyond the office and includes service to the Missouri Planning Association, the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Urban Land Institute, Rotary Club 13 and Friends of the Library at UMKC. He also has been active with his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, as a member of the Board of Visitors for both the College of Architecture and the Regional and City Planning program. Ochsner has held faculty appointments at Oklahoma State University, Rockhurst University, University of Missouri–Columbia and the University of Kansas, helping to pass along his experience to young planners. 

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