News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Exciting days ahead for Blue Springs

clock March 5, 2009 01:01 by author Jeff Quibell

DSC04409 I remember how I felt the first time I heard the city was building Adams Dairy Parkway. It was exciting to learn that the future of our city would include businesses with high-paying jobs that would allow our citizens to work, live and play in our own city. I could see the positive impact that this development would have for all of us in Blue Springs.

When I joined the City Council in 2005, I was excited about the prospect of helping realize that vision. The job required identifying existing obstacles and proposing solutions to move development forward and create an environment that would raise interest in this special asset that our city had created. To realize the vision that was Adams Dairy Parkway, we had to focus the City Council’s diverse interests and bring consensus to our goals.

Last week I attended the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation quarterly luncheon. Brian Foster, provost of the University of Missouri-Columbia, was the keynote speaker. He talked about the plans the university has for the Missouri Innovation Park and painted a picture of how the park will be developed. The park will be a place where doctoral students can interact with cutting-edge research facilities to solve the questions of human and animal health and promote the field of life sciences.

The crowd sensed the excitement that the convergence of high-quality research surrounding the life sciences will bring to our community, the region and our state. Looking forward to thousands of new, high-paying jobs and their economic benefit cemented the feeling that we were now taking the right steps to bring prosperity to our community.

I congratulate Mayor Carson Ross for the active role he has played in bringing the Missouri Innovation Park plans together, and I urge all members of the council to be aware of the possible ramifications of their actions as they evaluate projects in and around this growing area. National developers and employers are already seeking information about this project, and it’s important that our city council representatives fully understand the project. I was encouraged to see that Councilmen Lauer, Edmondson, Reed and Shaver attended the luncheon to hear and experience first-hand the excitement surrounding this unique opportunity.

Today, as you drive Adams Dairy Parkway, the promise of progress surrounds you. The excitement of seeing our investment in the parkway finally realized brings a sense of accomplishment, as we look to the bright future that will include the Missouri Innovation Park in our community.

Our state Senate is considering legislation to help fund this project. Please contact Senator Matt Bartle at 573-751-1464 to encourage his support of the Missouri Innovation Park provisions of this important legislation.


Blue Springs sees new opportunities

clock February 26, 2009 00:58 by author Jeff Quibell

I would like to compliment Mayor Ross and Council members Lauer, Edmondson, & Reed on their continued support of positive progress in our city. It is encouraging to see that a majority of our elected leaders have a vision for our future and are working together to help overcome the challenges that the current economic situation entails. Many people have worked diligently for years to improve all areas of our city, and I am excited and optimistic about the future of Blue Springs.

clip_image002Development of new restaurant opportunities continues to move forward. The planning commission reviewed and recommended approval of the site plan design for the new Panara Bread that will open soon in Coronado Place. RED Development continues to move forward with the Adams Dairy Landing development, bringing minor changes to the restaurant/retail section of their development between I-70 and Coronado Drive to the commission for approval.

Other restaurants that have recently opened in Blue Springs include Harley HotRods Bar & Grill on north MO-7, Colorado Pete’s BBQ on Hwy 40 and Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar in the Mall at Fall Creek. I recently spoke with the owner of Side Pockets and he expressed excitement that the Mall at Fall Creek is now fully leased, with the addition of Club 7 Fitness as the final anchor location in the Mall.

With so much happening in our city we should all be encouraged that perhaps the worst of the recession will pass by us. That is not to say that there won’t be challenges, but by pulling together and continuing to patronize our area businesses, we can weather the storm and find ways to prosper. I believe that our city is facing a much brighter financial picture than most municipalities in our country.

My wife Wanda and I are hosting a community “All You Can Eat” pancake breakfast on Saturday March 14, from 8am to 11am to celebrate progress in our community and raise funds to support the www.AboutBlueSprings.com website. The Steamin’ Bean has graciously agreed to allow us to have the breakfast in their coffee shop. I hope you will come join us and bring your neighbors for a festive celebration of all that is good in Blue Springs! Tickets are $6 at the door and $5 in advance. Check the website for details about advance ticket purchases.


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.


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.


City Awarded a Grant to Build a Disc Golf Course in Blue Springs

clock January 8, 2009 15:47 by author Jeff Quibell

Following is a letter to the Renew the Blue Co-Chair, Dave Wright, from Roscoe Righter the city's Director of Parks, Recreation, Buildings, & Grounds, announcing the grant award for the Disc Golf Course in Young Park.  My congratulations to the members of Renew the Blue, StandUp!, the Blue Springs School District, and the City of Blue Springs who worked so hard to make this happen.  This is an example where hard work and perseverance has paid off for our city! 

David, 

I wanted to notify you and the others, involved in getting the disc golf course off center, of the news I received this morning.  Please feel free to pass this along to all your committee.  I have notified David and Brandon with the School District, Dale Falck, the Rotary Club, Mayor & City Council, and of course our staff.  

Congratulations to all!  Today I received the packet of information and our notice that the Grant Application through LWCF has now been approved by both DNR and NPS.  We have the approval to proceed with construction.  I had indicated that the review and notification process normally takes through November or December.  I was beginning to get a little concerned that the economy may have caused NPS to withdraw the funding for this year, but it apparently just took them this long to process everything. 

My staff and I have been preparing for this approval.  We have worked on a plan to use GIS to layout the course.  We have the equipment and we have a GIS staff person at the City who will help lay in all the data on the map, then my staff and I will transfer that onto the ground in the park.  We will now start that process.  I will also be setting up all the required data and record keeping we must do at the City so we can be reimbursed when the project is completed.  We can begin the selection of and take bids for the actual equipment and signage systems.  I will coordinate with the School District for their students to assist with the concrete work as we get closer to that date. 

We have until the end of 2010 to complete all work and submit all paperwork, however, like all of you, I want to see this in use as soon as possible.  So we are planning to work toward a 2009 opening, hopefully in the summer months and prior to the next school year.  The Rotary Club has their funds ready for us, and the City has its funds available.  I will make sure we do a press release through the City’s PIO office. 

Thanks once again for all the work, time and effort to get us to this point.  After twenty plus years, we will finally have a disc golf course in Blue Springs!

Roscoe


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.


Blue Springs Announces Development of New Regional Science and Technology Park

clock December 15, 2008 11:57 by author Jeff Quibell

News Release

For Immediate Release

For More Information Contact:

Website: www.thinkbluesprings.com

Kelly Sullivan-Deady
Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus PC
816-360-4278
ksullivan@polsinelli.com

Merideth Parrish
City of Blue Springs
816-655-0497
mparrish@bluespringsgov.com

Blue Springs Announces Development of New Regional Science and Technology Park University of Missouri Committed as Anchor Research Tenant

15 December, 2008 - BLUE SPRINGS, Missouri - The Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced today that in conjunction with the City of Blue Springs, Missouri, it will develop the Missouri Innovation Park at Blue Springs, an approximately 500 acre science and technology innovation park that will provide a clustered focus for knowledge based innovation and commercialization in Western Missouri. More...