News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Much to see and savor across U.S.

clock July 21, 2010 09:27 by author Jeff Quibell

New Theatre 001 The past few weeks have been an adventure, one that I have dreamed of for 30 years. Last summer we purchased a Gold Wing motorcycle from Dell’s Powersports, setting the stage for a touring vacation.

We spent 12 glorious days exploring North and South Dakota, culminating in the Smidt family reunion in White, S.D. My two great aunts, 96 and 101 years young, along with many members of my maternal grandfather’s family, enjoyed a great reunion. Our travels took us to the Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, Needles Highway, Spearfish Canyon, Standing Rock Indian Reservation, the Corn Palace, Laura Ingalls Wilders’ Homestead and Pageant, and the cities of Brookings and White. What a truly remarkable country we live in!

When we arrived in Brookings, a city of about 20,000, we spent a little time seeing the sights and discovering hidden treasures. Tree-lined streets with sidewalks set far back from the right of way enhanced the walk-ability and attractiveness of the community. Their downtown is vibrant and focused on local business, dining, and entertainment. Like many cities along an interstate highway, their business community also included national chain stores and restaurants at their interchanges. Similar to Blue Springs, Brookings has its own economic development corporation collaborating with the city to achieve balance, as it pursues opportunities for growth and development.

Blue Springs was again recently honored by Money magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live,” ranking us 49th out of a total 100 cities honored. Our low cost of living, nationally recognized schools and low tax rates helped us stand out among the 746 cities considered for recognition.

It is a blessing to live in one of the best cities in America, but that blessing requires commitment from our residents and our elected leaders. One of our long-standing challenges is the revitalization of our downtown. The city has adopted a blueprint for that revitalization that will allow our downtown to grow to a size that is appropriate in relationship to our current population. Our downtown business owners, city government and Chamber of Commerce continue to work hard to provide and promote events that encourage residents and visitors to the downtown area. These events help to generate the synergy necessary to make our downtown thrive.

By working together, we have the ability to make this happen. There are those in our community with the available resources to bring more business opportunities into our downtown. However, they need the confidence that we will support those businesses once they open their doors. We need to focus on local innovation and creating a unique mix of businesses that will make our downtown a destination for residents and visitors alike.

Once in a while, just kick back

clock June 30, 2010 13:37 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Rotary Park at Railroad Lake is one of the most popular in our city park system and one of my personal favorites.Out in Public and Misc 021

Each Sunday evening throughout the summer, the gazebo on the south side of the pond comes alive with the sounds of blues, jazz and rock ’n’ roll. Residents bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the free concerts with family and friends. This past Sunday, the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce sponsored the concert that featured The Elsea Smith Band, hosted its annual member appreciation event with hamburgers and hotdogs and provided free ice cream for everyone who attended the concert.

As Wanda and I enjoyed the fellowship and music with our friends, neighbors, and fellow chamber members, I realized these events and activities are just a part of what makes our small town a great community. I say small town, yet Blue Springs is the tenth largest city in Missouri.

As Blue Springs has grown, we have maintained a welcoming, small-town, bedroom community feel without inhibiting the growth required to provide for our citizens. As I looked across the park, I saw friends and neighbors listening and laughing, enjoying the beautiful evening together. I saw business associates benefitting from the opportunity to build relationships outside of the confines of the workday, meeting family members and networking together. In the shelter house, a young child practiced her first steps, the newest addition to the chamber family slept in Daddy’s proud arms, and twins took in their first chamber picnic.
Life should be more than just work. Play is important too! A well-rounded life includes time for work, time for rest and time for fun. Seek out community events, and share time with friends and neighbors. We are so fortunate to live in a community that provides a wide variety of recreational events and opportunities to enrich our lives. Walk the paths, pack a picnic lunch, enjoy the art pieces in our parks, or just sit and listen to the music.

The complete concert schedule is available at

Temporary parking for the Howard Brown Public Safety Building

clock May 28, 2010 14:29 by author Jeff Quibell

Blue Springs, Mo. – The Blue Springs water tower located at 1100 SW Smith Street is currently undergoing cellular communications mounting upgrades and repainting resulting in the loss of 21 parking spaces.  The primary parking lot at the Howard Brown Public Safety Building will be closed until the project is completed in September.

Temporary parking will be available to visitors of the Blue Springs Public Safety and the Community and Youth Outreach Buildings, Municipal Court, Planning Commission, and City Council meetings on the east side of 11th Street.  Handicap accessible parking will be available in the municipal parking lot at 200 SW 11th Street.  Signs are posted at the entrance of the temporary lot for ease of identification.

The parking lot is also used for the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons and will be unavailable for parking.  Visitors will need to use on-street parking when the Farmers Market is in session.

For more information, contact Chris Sandie, Assistant Director of Public Works at (816) 228-0195.
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Blue Springs Annual Police Officer Memorial to be held May 14, 2010

clock May 6, 2010 10:54 by author Jeff Quibell

The Blue Springs Annual Police Officer Memorial recognizes those who have lost their lives in law enforcement. This special memorial service is hosted by the Blue Springs Police Department to honor those men and women. This year it will be held Friday, May 14th @ 2pm at the Howard Brown Public Safety Building in Blue Springs.  It is open to the public and is quite a tribute.  Please plan to attend and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep all of us safe!

Share your thoughts with city leaders

clock April 21, 2010 12:19 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Honored Monday evening for their service to the Blue Springs community, outgoing Councilmen Sheila Solon, Lyle Shaver and Sissy Reed each received a clock commemorating their service, along with proclamations from the city, the county and the state legislature.

Each councilman spoke briefly, remarking on the positive and negative aspects of public service. Sissy Reed, who leaves after 17 years on the council, expressed her gratitude to city staff and to the many friends she made while in office. These transitional City Council meetings are a wonderful opportunity to honor those leaving office, while welcoming the newly elected.

Former Mayor Grounds spoke briefly about each outgoing councilmen, commenting, “Sometimes when you vote, everybody is not going to like you.” It takes special people with a passion for our community to serve, knowing that the decisions they make will not always be popular. I would like to join with Mayor Ross and County Legislator Grounds in thanking former Councilmen Lyle Shaver, Sissy Reed, and Sheila Solon for their service to our community.

The city clerk, Kathy Richardson, then swore in the three new councilmen. They join with the remaining councilmen to represent the citizens as they govern our community’s future. We have an obligation to communicate with them, keeping them informed regarding our thoughts and opinions on important issues they will face. Mayor Ross reminded everyone Monday evening that, “You never learn anything by talking.” Our new councilmen are ready to listen, learn and take action to achieve the desired results.

Following the meeting, I spoke with each of our new councilmen and found them to be excited about their opportunity to serve. Dale Carter spoke of his desire to encourage a pro-business attitude and to continue to work on bringing tax revenue back into the city. Chris Lievsay spoke of his passion to improve public safety and to focus on Woods Chapel and downtown redevelopment. Grant Bowerman spoke about the humbling experience of meeting the citizens in his district and visiting with them at their homes. He is eager to work on developing new business opportunities and ensure that our police officers have the best and most current technology available.

The potential of this new council is exciting. Such a diverse group will bring an expansive range of ideas, while working collaboratively and positively. Contact information for all of the Blue Springs City Councilmen is available at It is an honor to have the opportunity to know these new community leaders, and I encourage you to communicate with them on issues of importance to you.

Agenda of Progress in Blue Springs

clock April 1, 2010 10:43 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, Chipotle, Panera, Sonic, Panda Express, Taco Bell, Planet Sub. The addition of these eight restaurants, along with new retail shops like Petco, Gamestop and Maurices in the developments surrounding Coronado and Adams Dairy Parkway have provided opportunities for residents and visitors alike to have greater options for shopping and dining.

How very different this area looked just five short years ago. The area along R.D. Mize consisted of deteriorating homes, with the majority of the area along the parkway largely undeveloped for well more than a decade.

These developments have not come easily or without conflict. Our District 3 City Councilmen have continued to look for ways to stop these developments from progressing, in spite of the overwhelming support for new retail development in our citizen surveys. As I drove through the area after lunch at Olive Garden, I observed the restaurants and shops, all teeming with customers, and I simply could not comprehend why anyone would want to impede such progress.

Our council members must continue to open their minds to the opportunity inherent in these developments and look for ways to encourage the refurbishment of older shopping and business districts throughout our city.

New restaurants have recently opened in both the northern and southern areas of Blue Springs; we have seen progress in our downtown district; and the redevelopment of Woods Chapel Road is under way from Interstate 70 to the railroad tracks. The majority of our council members are eager to continue the positive momentum of the past several years. They understand the commitment they are making to finish what began and reap the benefits for our community.

Much work remains. On April 6, each district in our city will elect a council member. This is a privilege and a sacred responsibility. Those whom we choose to represent us will influence the future of our city.

Over the past several weeks, I have encouraged each of you to be an informed voter. Citizens willing to serve are a blessing, and we are fortunate to have two candidates to choose between in each district. The following are my endorsements for City Council:

District 1 – Dale Carter will listen to his constituents, consider the facts and ramifications before making a decision, and seek collaborative solutions on the important issues facing our city.

District 2 – Sissy Reed has served our city well for many years and will provide an experienced voice of coherent reasoning. Her calm leadership and respectful decision-making will guide the rest of the council members and facilitate support for continued development of all areas of our city.

District 3 – Grant Bowerman has a clear understanding of the issues facing our city. His positive demeanor, his passion for the community, and his intelligent evaluation of the challenges facing our community will serve the citizens of District 3 well.

Rail plan would aid Blue Springs

clock October 15, 2009 17:13 by author Jeff Quibell

Rotary Park at Railroad Lake Major change takes time, and improvements to our city never seem to happen as quickly as we want. It’s been almost three years since the Blue Springs City Council approved the new downtown master plan, following an extensive period of public input from residents, business owners and city officials.

Revitalizing downtown Blue Springs has been a priority for many years, and this plan’s formal adoption was only the beginning. Almost immediately there was a flurry of activity with new housing. Other improvements include additional sidewalks, decorative lighting and road enhancements.

This week, County Executive Mike Sanders unveiled Jackson County’s plan to implement a regional commuter rail system. This is an important component to revitalizing Blue Springs’ downtown, providing connecting transportation to the metro area for employment and entertainment options.

The downtown plan calls for a transit station to serve commuter trains and existing buses, and to be a catalyst for new downtown businesses and the future development of additional housing. If the county is able to secure federal stimulus funds, the commuter system could be up and running in just two years. While the commuter rail is only one component of our master plan, the implementation of a regional system will facilitate progress toward the original timetable for the revitalization in downtown Blue Springs.

The choice to spend $1 billion in the current economic environment is not easy. But our transportation needs will not simply go away. As our communities continue to grow, the demands on our roads and highways grow as well. We must look for ways to expand our transportation options throughout the metro area and find the most fiscally responsible options available.

In spite of the divergent opinions on our City Council, our elected officials seek to make the improvements that we want to see happen in our city. I commend Mike Sanders for pursuing this vision, which will benefit the entire region and will assist our city in our efforts to continue the exciting improvements to our downtown. Much remains to be done and will take longer than any of us would like to wait, but the result will be significant improvements in our community.