News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Keep progress going in Blue Springs

clock February 12, 2009 01:01 by author Jeff Quibell

25th Anniversary Vacation 084  25th Anniversary Vacation 014From the Library Lounge in the Inn at Biltmore Estate, Wanda and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains Sunday evening. We spent two days exploring our nation’s largest single family residence, built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt. The Biltmore is 175,000 square feet of pure luxury, built on what was originally 125,000 acres of managed forest land.

As we toured the Biltmore and the grounds, I was struck by the effect that a single significant development can have on a region. When the Biltmore was constructed in the late 1800s, it created thousands of jobs in the Asheville, N.C., area, and 114 years later, it continues to provide employment for up to 1,800 employees, working throughout the year to keep the estate open and accessible to the public as a national historic landmark.

When George Vanderbilt constructed his home, he had no way of knowing that more than 100 years later, his home would continue to provide employment to so many people. The Missouri Innovation Park will create significant job opportunities in Blue Springs and will impact the economic environment in the surrounding area well into the next century. 

I have heard Brien Starner, director of the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation, say many times, “a rising tide raises all boats.”

This is the foundation of the impact of positive growth on an entire community. As I visited with my barber recently about the Innovation Park, we discussed what it meant for him and for others in the community like him, residents and business owners alike. We discussed the impact of at least 3,000 more people in Blue Springs, people who will need homes to live in, restaurants to dine in, and retail opportunities to shop for products and services. The rising tide can mean the revitalization of downtown and an increased interest in redevelopment at U.S. 40 and Missouri 7.

To keep Blue Springs on the forefront of progress and economic recovery, the entire City Council will need to put aside personal differences, think outside the box and look for ways to work together. I know that each member of our council wants what they believe is best for Blue Springs. Now is the time for our councilmen to be flexible and to accommodate the future needs of the Innovation Park development and current and future residents of Blue Springs.

Our elected leaders are facing the need to build a new city hall, a mandated new communication system for our Police Department and maintaining our aging pool complex. This council needs to carefully consider how their decisions affect the growing needs of our city, and anticipate the growth as we prepare today for a brighter future tomorrow.

To see pictures from my visit to the Biltmore please look me up on facebook.com at http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Quibell/1405337531 and invite me to be on your friend list.


Who Pays For Business Incentives?

clock February 4, 2009 20:56 by author Jeff Quibell

Wanda and I are taking a brief vacation this week, traveling by car around the southeastern part of the nation.  We watched this week’s council meeting on the Internet while relaxing in Florida.

The discussion surrounding the Parkway Place development was again the main topic in the visitors session. Residents and individuals alike again encouraged Councilmen Fowler, Solon or Shaver to bring the project back up for reconsideration, as they are the only ones who can make this request.

Bill Wrisinger, recently named Blue Springs Business Person of the Year by the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the council again, seeking its help and direction in determining how best to proceed with his project. He mentioned that in the negotiations, the council had offered 353 tax abatement in place of the community improvement district financing that he had originally requested.

Use of 353 tax abatement would result in a reduction of funding to other taxing entities, such as the school district and fire district. The community improvement district imposes a sales tax only on the users of the project, including the many people who would stop in to shop or buy gas as they came through the area on the interstate.  The 353 tax abatement funds the infrastructure improvements by taking away from our school district, and other taxing entities. One has to wonder how that is an improvement for our citizens. 

Some may wonder why a tax incentive is requested at all.  Why shouldn’t the developer pay all of the expenses for his project? The council approved the Parkway Place project; why doesn’t Wrisinger just move forward with that approval?

The answer is that the city is requiring him to pay for road improvements and additional infrastructure that will benefit the entire Adams Dairy Parkway and all existing and future developments along the corridor. When those costs are included in the overall project, the cost of developing the currently vacant land is no longer financially feasible.

The council must evaluate if the incentive requested and the development proposed are worth the expense to our taxpayers. In this case, the resulting project will generate hundreds of thousands in new revenue for the city, so the answer may be yes, as it has been for other developments in the vicinity.

Based on this week’s meeting, it appears some members of the council may prefer for the revenue to come from other taxing entities like our school district. I believe the best solution was the one originally proposed that includes revenue from sources outside our city and provides full funding to our school district.


An Open Letter to All Blue Springs Residents

clock January 30, 2009 15:31 by author Jeff Quibell

I recently received the following letter from the developer of Parkway Place.  It is addressed to the residents of Blue Springs and I provide it here for your viewing.

LtrtoCitizensconcerningParkwayPlaceandParkwayWest.pdf (8.44 mb)

To contact your Mayor and City Council please click on the following link:

http://www.aboutbluesprings.com/page/City-Council-Contact-Info.aspx

The text of the letter follows:

January 27, 2009

To: All Blue Springs Residents

Re: Parkway Place and Parkway West

As many of you may know, Adams Dairy Investors, LLC has been working with the City

of Blue Springs for over 15 months to bring a much needed office and retail development to the More...


City should rethink a bad decision, Council action embarrassed city

clock January 22, 2009 17:37 by author Jeff Quibell

Wanda and I attended Tuesday’s Blue Springs City Council meeting on a topic that is important to both of us and to most of the citizens of Blue Springs. I shared the following thoughts with Mayor Ross and the Council.

“Mayor Ross and members of the City Council, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this evening. In addition to today’s historic presidential inauguration, my wife Wanda and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary today. Still we both felt the issue I am here to speak about tonight was too important for our community to wait until the February meeting.

Harry S. Truman once said, ‘Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.’

For many years, the elected leaders in Blue Springs held fast to a plan for Adams Dairy Parkway that resulted in a lack of development and growth on our premiere north-south corridor.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, ‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’ Our community had faith four years ago when forward-thinking leaders supported changes to the existing plan for the parkway. Because of those changes, the retail and restaurants long desired by the residents of Blue Springs are coming as well as thousands of high-paying jobs.

In my opinion, the behavior of Councilmen Fowler, Solon and Shaver at the last council meeting was an embarrassment to our community and risked the progress many have worked so hard to achieve.

Mayor Ross, I respectfully encourage you to have the council reconsider the actions taken at the last council meeting regarding the Parkway Place and Parkway West projects. Just as you ask the council to address each other with respect, insist that they also treat those people investing in our community with the same respect.

I know that consensus building is important to you because you spoke of it often during your campaign for mayor. We both know this is important to our citizens because of comments heard at the thousands of households we visited and the town hall meetings we participated in during our respective campaigns. I hope you will guide the council to evaluate projects on their merits, weigh the costs versus the benefits to the community, and let go of the unrealistic expectations of an 18-year-old plan that the rest of the council and our community let go of long ago.”

I encourage you to share your thoughts on this topic with your elected leaders on www.AboutBlueSprings.com and www.examiner.net.


Chili Dog Supper Benefits Blue Springs' Dog Park, Pooches on the Parkway Next

clock January 19, 2009 12:31 by author Jeff Quibell
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Saturday evening I had the opportunity to attend a Chili Dog supper to help raise funds for Blue Springs Dog Park.  For more pictures of the event go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/Staceysharesphotos/Clifford?authkey=avK5URHSJ3M&feat=directlink.

Be sure to add to your calendar the date for the next Pooches on the Parkway event.  It will be held on May 17, 2009.  For more information watch http://www.ruffbluesprings.org/.

If you haven't visited the park yet, be sure to take your dog out for a walk and give them the opportunity to enjoy this unique amenity in our park system.  It is located on the eastern side of Lake Remembrance in Gregory O. Grounds Park.  Just go east from the I-70 & Adams Dairy Parkway interchange on the north outer road, past the lake and turn north on the first road.  You can't miss it!


City Council Presentation for the Adams Dairy C-Store

clock January 16, 2009 23:33 by author Jeff Quibell

There has been substantial discussion about the Parkway Place and Adams Dairy C-Store projects over the last two weeks.  Following is a link to the presentation given to the City Council at the January 5th Meeting.

AdamsDairyCStore.pdf (913.03 kb)


Council meeting raises ire of many, let your elected leaders know what you think

clock January 15, 2009 01:01 by author Jeff Quibell

During my two campaigns for elected office, I visited more than 6,500 homes and talked to thousands of residents. One of the more common questions I was asked was, “Why do developers believe our city is difficult to work with?” For an excellent answer to that question, watch the Jan. 5 City Council meeting on the city’s Web site at http://mo-bluesprings.civicplus.com/index.asp?NID=230.

I have received numerous calls over the past week and a half from citizens expressing concern and dismay after watching that meeting. The most common criticism I heard can be summed up in one word, “embarrassing.” To fully understand the significance of the events that transpired during meeting, I encourage you to watch it. Then, contact your councilman and let them know if you agree or disagree with their votes and their tactics. Give them your guidance as to how you feel projects should be evaluated by our city council.

We must partner with the development community if we are to accomplish the improvements and amenities we want for our city. Development proposals take time and money. Those wanting to build in our city make a tremendous investment of their own money to prepare a project proposal. While there is no guarantee of approval, we should have an approval process that contains a certain degree of predictability, while eliminating poor or undesirable projects as early as possible. We are blessed in Blue Springs to have experienced, trained, professional staff members who do this job extremely well.

When a project reaches the council, the primary focus should be on its value to our city and how well it fits the long-range plan. The project has been carefully evaluated by city staff and presented to the Planning Commission. Questions for the applicants should focus on understanding the project and gathering information. Debate among councilmen should focus on how the project benefits our citizens and whether the cost is worth the benefit. When considering incentives, that cost must be weighed against the gains for our community.

I firmly believe everyone who conducts business in our city should be treated with respect, always. That same respect is due to the professional consultants the city requests and often requires that developers hire to assist in evaluating projects. Bottom line, our councilmen need to do the job they were elected to do, and move our community forward with a respectful approval process that will result in additional new shopping opportunities, new restaurants, and through the new Missouri Innovation Park, thousands of new jobs.

Please take the time to contact your councilmen, thank them for their service and encourage them to support quality growth in our community.


Blue Springs Council Blocks Progress

clock January 8, 2009 02:00 by author Jeff Quibell

I had the privilege to attend the pre-opening celebration of the new Cosentino’s Market in the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City.

It is always exciting to see local community members investing in their home town. Local investment generates economic activity, community pride, and helps build the local economy in these difficult times. Following the celebration, I returned to Blue Springs to attend a City Council meeting. Several local developers had projects on the agenda, and I was very interested to see what they were planning for our community.

A proposed upscale convenience store became the controversial issue of the evening. Several years ago the city hesitated to approve the Meiner’s Market convenience store on Adams Dairy Parkway. There was concern that a convenience store with a gas station did not fit the dream for the Parkway. Ultimately, the project was approved and became a desirable and busy addition, generating substantial tax revenue for our city and helping to divert traffic from Missouri 7 to the Parkway.

The store proposed Monday would offer products not currently available on the parkway. It was to be on the corner of Napoleon and Adams Dairy Parkway and built in conjunction with an office/retail development called Parkway Place. With nearly 20,000 vehicles using the Parkway each day, and the development of Adams Dairy Landing and the new Innovation Park, it is a logical addition to serve the needs of our residents living in this area and traveling the parkway each day.

Councilman Shavers comments suggested to me that he felt present and future drivers could just as easily buy gas on Missouri 7.  It seems shortsighted to divert traffic from the Parkway back to M-7, especially when you consider that a part of the initial reasoning for the parkway was to reduce traffic congestion on M-7.

Councilmen Ron Fowler, Sheila Solon and Lyle Shaver blocked the rezoning required to allow the store, in spite of a recommendation for approval from our Planning Commission. Fowler spoke against the project, but rather than voting no, he abstained, stopping a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Carson Ross, who appeared to favor the project. The same tactic was used to deny a funding mechanism for the Parkway Place office/retail project, placing that project in jeopardy as well.

The unfortunate result is three respected, successful Blue Springs residents were denied the opportunity to invest in their own home town and our community lost another quality development that would bring jobs and hundreds of thousands of new tax dollars to our city in difficult economic times.


Missouri Innovation Park at Blue Springs Web Links

clock December 18, 2008 19:22 by author Jeff Quibell

Learn more about this exciting new development in Blue Springs.  Following are links for more detailed information about the Missouri Innovation Park at Blue Springs.

Project Introduction
http://www.thinkbluesprings.com/innovationpark_intro.asp

Innovation Park Overview
http://www.bluespringsedc.com/images/Final_White_Paper.pdf

Fact Sheet More...


Missouri Innovation Park at Blue Springs

clock December 18, 2008 02:00 by author Jeff Quibell

Monday was a great day for Blue Springs! Despite objections and two “no” votes from 3rd District Councilmen Fowler and Solon, the City Council supported the next step toward the completion of the Adams Dairy Landing shopping center. This project, a high priority of our citizens for many years, continues to move forward despite the national economic climate. Even more exciting was the announcement of the development of a 500 acre science and technology innovation park on Adams Dairy Parkway, the “Missouri Innovation Park at Blue Springs”!

Anchored by the University of Missouri, the innovation park development will bring high paying jobs to our city and realize a significant portion of the original vision for Adams Dairy Parkway. Each step of progress since the parkway was conceived eighteen years ago was a necessary step to the culmination of this important development. The hard work of many organizations, elected officials and citizens has resulted in a unique opportunity for this exciting addition to the parkway.

Mayor Grounds and the council members that served with him conceived and approved the building of the parkway and its early amenities. Mayor Steiner and the council members that served with him supported the concept of a public/private partnership and formed the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation, recognizing that sometimes progress comes from outside of city hall. With the realization that shopping and dining opportunities would create a climate to encourage office park development and meet the needs of our citizens, our elected officials wisely chose to adapt the plan for the parkway.

The ninety member citizen led “Renew the Blue” visioning effort More...