News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

City Considers Allocation of Block Grant Funds

clock May 30, 2012 16:21 by author Jeff Quibell

When the Federal Government provides funds to local government, there are always strings attached and requirements that must be met to receive those funds.  

When the population of Blue Springs reached 50,000 residents we met the eligibility requirements to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the federal government.  The 2012-2013 budget that begins October 1st includes an estimated $211,866 from this program.   Following a presentation by city staff regarding previous use of CDBG funds at the most recent council meeting, the City Council began the discussion regarding the best use, as allowed by the program, of those funds.

From the time when Blue Springs began receiving CDBG funds we have received nearly one million dollars from the Federal Government and have allocated those funds in the following manner:

  • Parks - $65,000
  • Streetlights - $166,884
  • Sidewalks - $563,299
  • Programs
    • Minor Home Repair - $84,093
    • First Time Home Buyer - $46,837
  • Administration - $5,556

This year we are considering the following opportunities:

  • Historic District Sidewalks - $50,000
  • Main Street Lighting -$75,000
  • Main & 15th St Crosswalks - $50,000
  • Missouri Main Street (Downtown Alive!) - $5,000
  • Downtown Commercial Façade Grant Program - $50,000
  • Historic Building Restoration - $100,000
  • Minor Home Repair Program - $60,000
  • First Time Home Buyer Program - $39,000
  • CDBG Administration Funds - $6,000

As you can see, there are substantially more opportunities than anticipated funding would support, requiring the council to evaluate each opportunity and decide the best options for our community.  This is one of the responsibilities of the city council and, with input from our constituents, the council is able to direct funding to the programs and infrastructure enhancements that meet the goals of the residents of Blue Springs.

Councilman Fowler’s comments Monday evening raised the issue of the importance of balancing the funds between commercial and residential uses.  Balance is a word we frequently hear in politics today, especially at the federal level.  Balance is important, but to be meaningful it must be clearly defined both on the federal level and locally.   Finding the appropriate balance for all funds the city administers within its budget is a complex and lengthy process, as we carefully consider all aspects of balancing the needs and wants of government and residents.  

Utilization of CDBG funds can provide benefits to our residents and businesses both directly and indirectly.  As the council evaluates and decides on the best use of these funds, I am confident we will find an appropriate balance, and your input is an important component in the process.  Please share your thoughts with your city council representatives; contact information is available at http://bit.ly/BSCouncilContacts

You may subscribe to AboutBlueSprings.com blog and newsletter at http://bit.ly/SignupAboutBlueSprings.


City Looking At A Year Of Progress

clock January 4, 2012 10:06 by author Jeff Quibell

2011-12-08 10-40-58.261The changing of the calendar to a new year is typically seen as a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.

For Blue Springs, 2012 will be the year in which we see visible progress on the Missouri Innovation Park on Adams Dairy Parkway. As the University of Missouri prepares to break ground at its permanent location in Blue Springs, its involvement and commitment will raise the visibility and viability of MIP to the world’s animal-health-related companies, along with other entities and organizations.

It will take time, but we anticipate the demand for locations within the MIP will result in new, high-quality jobs for Blue Springs residents and those in the surrounding areas.

This year will also see the installation of the new digital radio system for our Police Department. This system, paid for by the public safety tax that Blue Springs voters approved last year, will substantially improve our Police Department’s communication ability and will help make our city safer. The improvements to the public safety building will enhance downtown and provide an improved workplace for our police officers.

Hopefully, 2012 will see progress on the regional transit proposal, which could bring even more activity to our downtown in the coming years.

The redevelopment of Woods Chapel Road continues, and residents will see utilities relocated this spring in preparation for the widening and resurfacing from Duncan Road on the north all the way south to Walnut Street. Right-of-way acquisition is under way, and we should see work on the road begin this year, with scheduled completion scheduled for 2013. The new diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 70 will improve the flow of traffic, especially during rush hour, and the signalized intersection at Duncan Road will make that area safer and less congested.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest appreciation for the many cards, notes, copies of the newspaper and kind words regarding the story of the Christmas ornaments from my birth mother. To Martin Augustine of KMBC Channel 9 News and Lee Hill Kavanaugh of The Kansas City Star, thank you for telling the story in such a wonderful and compassionate manner. The response has been overwhelming and very much appreciated. For those who missed the stories, they can be viewed at http://bit.ly/QuibellOrnaments and http://bit.ly/AnnChristmas.
Happy new year, everyone! I look forward to another year of sharing with you all of the great things happening in Blue Springs!


Progress coming in Blue Springs

clock April 14, 2011 00:11 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @300 ResAnother election day has come and gone, and the voters of Blue Springs have spoken. I am honored to once again represent District 1 residents as their voice on the city council. I will continue to provide information and updates on issues of concern to the residents of Blue Springs through my newsletters on www.AboutBlueSprings.com and articles in our local newspapers. As we work together to make our city the best it can possibly be, interaction and discussion with the citizens is crucial. Please share your thoughts with me; 816-223-2865 or jeffq@cprosinc.com.

I am eager to work with the Mayor and other members of the Council. Significant effort will be required to realize the vision of Missouri Innovation Park, the revitalization of our downtown area and the continued redevelopment on MO-7Hwy and US-40 Hwy. Progress, at times, seems painfully slow. However, I believe that we are moving deliberately and conscientiously forward in the direction of our goals for Blue Springs.

The plan for the expansion and upgrade to the Woods Chapel corridor now includes a 3 million dollar grant that will extend the road improvements from Duncan Road just North of I-70 south to Walnut Street, just past Old Mill Park. The timeline for full completion of this critical project extends into 2013, and includes significant enhancements to the corridor that will encourage quality development of this gateway into our city. We are all anxious to see this project advance as quickly as possible.

In future articles, I will address these and many other issues that are facing the city, along with items of interest as they arise. Thank you for the wonderful support over the years and for the opportunity to again be of service to the citizens of Blue Springs!


Always Leave Your Campsite Just a Little Better Than How You Found It–Remember to Vote on April 5th

clock March 25, 2011 11:06 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 Res“Always leave your campsite just a little better than how you found it.” Adult Scout leaders often shared this fundamental principal with my scout troop. As I completed the requirements for Eagle Scout, it became a foundation for my beliefs and goals as an adult and later as an elected official.

I have visited thousands of homes in Blue Springs and have found residents very consistent in their expectations. They want their elected officials to find ways to make our city just a little better than how they found it. This basic philosophy of improvement is important to the long-term health of our community, and I feel very strongly that it is important for our elected officials to pursue such a worthy goal.

This year, residents are sharing with me their excitement about new shopping and dining opportunities that have come to our city, but they are concerned about the economy and looking to our elected officials, both locally and nationally, to find solutions. They are looking for a return to prosperity in the housing industry, and especially interested in insuring that the housing provided for our citizens is of high quality and yet affordably priced. The hope for older businesses to update their facilities and empty buildings to be better utilized continues, while recognizing that progress has been made in this area, there remains much to be done.

Missouri Innovation Park continues to move forward with small steps of accomplishment. I am committed to assisting with the facilitation of this project and to the quality jobs that will come as a result of its success. With new business and new employees, increased demand for housing and increased revenue for existing business will result in a stronger economy for our city.

Current city policy prevents or limits the renovation of many existing business facilities in Blue Springs. Many years ago, zoning policies were enacted that designated the location of specific industries within certain business corridors; car dealerships placed along the Outer Road, as an example. The unintended consequence of those policies is that existing businesses are prevented or limited in their options to improve their buildings when their location is inconsistent with existing zoning. Fixing the problem will require revised policies that will allow existing businesses to improve their properties, while still requiring new businesses to locate in the appropriate corridors of the city. This is a beginning step in the necessary process of addressing the blight and vacant buildings, and will show support and appreciation of the existing businesses that have sustained our community for many years.

I am excited about the opportunity to assist in finding solutions to all of the issues facing our city. Please remember to vote on April 5th. I will work hard to make our city better than it is today.


Council Handled Project Respectfully

clock October 27, 2010 09:31 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQuibell201002 One of the most important tasks of a councilman is to weigh the evidence and to evaluate how each project fits the city’s plan. The City Council recently considered and approved a change to a controversial project, Parkway Estates, a housing development originally approved when I was on the council in 2006. As I watched the meeting, I experienced a bit of a déjà vu moment, as many of the same citizens were present to express their opposition to the changes requested by the landowner.


I was proud of the entire council for the respectful manner in which they addressed the developer’s request and the citizen’s concerns. The council members invested significant time studying the issues and history surrounding this development, as well as listening and considering the points of view of the neighbors and constituents throughout the city.


Evaluating a change to an existing development requires familiarity with the city’s comprehensive plan as well as the many development ordinances. It was clear from the meeting that our councilmen did their homework. As each councilman spoke of his reasons for voting either for or against the request, their commitment to their position and to the integrity of their oath of office was apparent. Each drew from their own experience and evaluated the developer’s request based on what they believe is best for the City of Blue Springs, and I applaud their honesty and dedication.


A friend who has lived in Blue Springs longer than I have shared that when the Timber Oaks subdivision was completed, the developer came to the city for approval of an additional street, with the intent of building smaller patio homes. He stated that the neighbors came out in force, concerned that the new smaller homes would destroy property values, along with a variety of negative arguments to attempt to stop the project. Ultimately that project was approved and built. Today you would never know it was a separate project. These well-kept homes have been an excellent addition to the area, adding another choice of homes for buyers.


The Parkway Estates project will bring quality homes to the city that fit the plan for the area. While the neighbors did not get all they asked for, their input into the process was vital to improving the quality of the resulting proposed project. Citizens with concerns should always participate in the process of project review. That is the purpose of public hearings. In the end, the council effectively evaluated the project and achieved a fair conclusion to the process. Watch the meeting at http://bit.ly/cc20101018.


We are blessed to have a diverse and dedicated council in Blue Springs. One of them, Jeanie Lauer, has chosen to seek the office of State Representative in District 54. Jeanie has proven her leadership during her time on the council and will be a great advocate for our city and the other cities in District 54. I encourage each of you to remember to vote on November 2, and if you live in District 54, to cast your ballot for Jeanie Lauer.


City makes home ownership easier

clock August 12, 2010 15:05 by author Jeff Quibell

jeffqmug Recently, Wanda and I helped our youngest daughter, Ashley, move to Lexington, Mo., into a house she is renting, as she prepares to teach early childhood/special education there this fall.

It surprises me how quickly time passes. It seems only yesterday that Wanda and I moved to Blue Springs. I remember our progression from apartment dwellers to home renters and finally homeowners. My parents were there to help with each move, and Wanda and I are pleased to be able to help our girls as they take their place in the adult world.

For our community to be inviting, we need to provide for the entire cycle of housing choices that most people require as they make the transition from apartment rental to home ownership, and retirement or assisted living choices. As a community, we must ensure that quality housing is accessible at each step along the way.

In Blue Springs, we have an appropriate mix of housing for our citizens to choose from, with rental opportunities, starter homes, move-up housing and retirement options. Last week the City Council expanded the options for qualified buyers by establishing a first-time home buyers program.

District 1 City Councilman Dale Carter ran for office on a platform that included developing this type of program. Just four months later, he succeeded in receiving the unanimous approval of the council to establish a fund for first-time homebuyers using federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

Wanda and I own a rental duplex townhome in Blue Springs, and over the years, we have rented to many young families who simply didn’t have the resources to make a purchase when they first became our tenants. We have found it typical that our tenants will stay for a few years, and then they are able to accomplish their goal of home ownership and purchase their first home. We are always thrilled to see this transition and ready to provide a home for the next family that is just one step away from home ownership.

Dale’s program will make it easier for our city’s renters to take that next step and as a result provide buyers for those wishing to move to their second or third home. Without those first-time buyers, the cycle of home purchasing stagnates and the pool of buyers is reduced, which can cause home values to decline. So while the program provides a direct benefit for a limited number of homebuyers, the indirect benefit is much wider. Soon, with the development of Missouri Innovation Park, it will be possible for even more of our citizens to live, play, and work right here in Blue Springs!

Congratulations to Councilman Carter for demonstrating effective leadership and for working with the mayor and the rest of the council to continue to keep Blue Springs the best place in the nation to raise a family!