News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Exciting Development in City

clock February 22, 2012 19:29 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResMayor Carson Ross likes to say Blue Springs is a city “on the move,” and it’s obvious throughout our city that his statement is accurate.

With the exceptionally mild winter we’re experiencing, commercial development at Adams Dairy Landing is progressing at a brisk pace. Ulta Beauty is now open and the buildings for TJ-Maxx/Home Goods, Ross Dress for Less and additional lifestyle shops are close to completion.

The city recently began requesting bids on the long anticipated improvements for Woods Chapel Road, continuing to fulfill the promise of redeveloping this important north-south corridor. At the most recent City Council work session, the council agreed to request assistance from the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation regarding recommendations for a strategic plan to redevelop our Missouri 7 and U.S. 40 corridors. We also agreed to complete the formal review of our city’s comprehensive plan, a review that is significantly overdue and will ensure the city is better prepared for future development efforts.

Not all politics were local last week. I had the great pleasure of going to Jefferson City to talk with our state legislators regarding a variety of issues of interest to our city.

I met with many representatives and senators and experienced a great deal of pride as I frequently heard how well our city is represented by District 54 Rep. Jeanie Lauer. Over and over again her colleagues spoke of what an effective, strong leader she is for Blue Springs. Having worked closely with Jeanie in recent years, this confirmed what I already knew about her dedication to the residents of our city and her genuine concern for the best interest of our community. It’s gratifying to know that others recognize her integrity and sincerity. We are fortunate to have her in Jefferson City!

We began interviewing candidate development teams last week, one of which will partner with the city and University of Missouri for the design and development of the 50,000- to 80,000-square foot Mizzou Center building. The Mizzou Center will focus on research, continuing education and community outreach functions in Missouri Innovation Park and will serve as the anchor tenant for this important project.

The land for the first phase of development in the park is now under control of the city, and we are on track for visible development before the end of the year. The location is just south of Adams Dairy Landing, at the corner of R.D. Mize Road and Adams Dairy Parkway.

Jackson County’s regional rail proposal now includes two potential stops in Blue Springs – one downtown and one at the southern edge of the Innovation Park. These two stops will assist Main Street Alive in downtown redevelopment efforts and help to accelerate the development of Missouri Innovation Park. This proposal is likely to be a November ballot issue in Jackson County.

Blue Springs is “on the move?” Yes, mayor, we certainly are!


Plans Lead to Progress (Woods Chapel & New Stores at ADL)

clock October 19, 2011 17:04 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResThe first six months of my current term in office are now behind me. It’s been an interesting change from my previous term in office just a few years ago.

The Blue Springs City Council is working well together, without the frequent angst that we sometimes experienced in the past. The hard questions are still being asked and we don’t always all agree, but good outcomes are occurring with regularity. Scripted political agendas have disappeared, and a true spirit of cooperation has brought a breath of fresh air to the political climate of our city.

A frequent question lately regards progress on the Woods Chapel Road expansion. This important project is ongoing and actually moving along at a pretty good clip behind the scenes.

Planning and progress at the beginning of a large road project aren’t visible in the first few years. The project is first designed and rights of way purchased from the hundreds of property owners on each side of the road. Construction contracts go out for bid. Significant amounts of work occur before the first shovelful of dirt is turned, but I assure you we are moving forward and are on schedule.

The final steps in acquiring the last few properties needed to construct the road have been set in motion, and an agreement with Kansas City Power & Light is approved to begin moving the utilities in preparation for the new roadway. This will be the first noticeable change that will occur.

A funding agreement is now approved with the Missouri Department of Transportation for the construction of Woods Chapel from Castle Drive to Walnut. This piece of the project is an expansion of the voter-approved improvements from Duncan Road down to the railroad tracks.

This week RED Development provided an update on the Adams Dairy Landing project. This TIF-funded project is paying great dividends for our community. New shopping is available to our residents to buy products at a lower tax rate than they were paying in other retail venues while also saving on the gas they spent to get there. The new tax revenue generated by the project is helping our city maintain services in difficult economic times. Because of a carefully crafted TIF policy and bond issues coinciding with store openings, the project cash flow is positive and paying its own way as expected. It is a benefit for our residents, the city and the people employed at the new stores.

RED Development announced several new stores that will be opening over the next year: Ross Dress for Less, T.J. Max, Home Goods, Charming Charlie, Rue 21, Yogurtini, Ulta Beauty, Arby’s and Chick-Fil-A.


Little things lead to big things–Maybe a New Restaurant Coming to Town?

clock July 20, 2011 12:11 by author Jeff Quibell

Maid-Rite restaurantLocation, location, location. We’ve all heard how the right location can make or break a business. So, how does a new business choose where to locate? How does it decide if a city has the right demographic mix to make a business successful? In reality, every situation is different, with a variety of issues to evaluate prior to making any commitments.

As a City Council member, I am always looking for opportunities for the residents of our city. As my wife Wanda and I travel the country, we enjoy dining at new and different restaurants. When we discover a restaurant I think it might be a good business to have in Blue Springs, I simply ask for corporate information and contact their home office to let them know about our great city. Frustratingly, most of the contacts never bear fruit, yet I believe it’s important to continue to try. You never know when a great opportunity may come along.

Recently, an opportunity came to me in an unusual way. Many of you know that I am an active user of a smartphone application called FourSquare.  FourSquare allows you to “check-in” and let your friends know where you are. One feature of this application is to publish your check-ins on Twitter. Twitter is an Internet service that shares 140 character “tweets” with anyone who is out there watching.

Here is where the story begins: Growing up, my parents and I frequently traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to visit family. Along the way, we always stopped at Taylor’s Maid-Rite in Marshalltown, Iowa, to have a Maid-Rite sandwich. If you are unfamiliar with Maid-Rites, you’re missing something wonderful. They may very well be one of the healthiest hamburgers you can eat. Frankly, healthy has nothing to do with it. They are just great.

On a recent drive down I-35, I noticed a sign for a Maid-Rite store along the highway and couldn’t resist. I pulled in and we had a couple of Maid-Rites. Like always, I “checked in” and sat down for dinner. By the time we were back in Blue Springs, I had a tweet from Maid-Rite Corporation thanking me for dining at one of its restaurants. I tweeted back “you’re welcome” and suggested the company locate a store in Blue Springs and provided contact information for the city.

Imagine my surprise when this week’s council packet contained information regarding negotiation for locating a Maid-Rite in Blue Springs. It is seeking a franchise owner to run a Maid-Rite store in our city!

In a struggling economy, with more people looking for work than the number of jobs available, entrepreneurship flourishes. Somewhere in Blue Springs, someone willing and eager to start their own business may be waiting, eager to provide work for themselves, their family and friends. This is an opportunity looking for a connection. If this sounds like the business you are looking for, contact Tania Burt, executive vice president of Maid Rite Corporation at 515-276-5448. She can help you explore the possibility.

Entrepreneurship and small business is the foundation of our economy. Many believe the best solutions to our economic troubles will rise from our entrepreneurial spirit. Could a simple “check-in” actually create jobs for our city? Stranger things have happened.


City addresses sidewalk repairs

clock June 9, 2011 10:42 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResPatronizing our local businesses is important to helping our local economy grow and prosper.

This morning, I had the pleasure of dining at a new Blue Springs restaurant, Sandy’s Restaurant on U.S. 40. I enjoyed a great, traditional café breakfast; the staff was friendly and provided prompt, outstanding service. This gem of a business was a great way to start my day.

While dining, I contemplated the results of Monday’s City Council meeting. It was the first meeting in my new term that had a substantial number of issues on the agenda. Most importantly, the council approved the city’s 2011-12 capital improvements program. This document provides for planning major improvements over the next six years, as well as those we would like to achieve but don’t currently have funding to complete.

There was considerable discussion on a proposal from Councilman Chris Lievsay to remove $200,000 annually from our street maintenance program and use it to begin repairing the city’s 2,000 sidewalk defects. This potential change in policy would place more of the responsibility of maintaining sidewalks with the city and could significantly improve the condition of our sidewalks over the next 12 years.

My initial concern was the potential impact on our street overlay program. Both sidewalks and streets are high priorities, according to our most recent citizen survey.

The council and city staff determined that we would still be able to continue to meet our goal of at least 15 miles of street overlay per year and the integrity of the program would be maintained. The council unanimously approved the use of these funds for sidewalk repairs and will discuss the modification of our development codes to include maintenance of sidewalks as a city responsibility at the next council meeting.

Also important to our residents, the council approved enhancements to the Woods Chapel and Interstate 70 interchange that are a part of the 2008 voter-approved bond issue. Progress on the redevelopment of Woods Chapel from Duncan Road to Walnut Street continues at a good clip. The project is scheduled for completion in 2013.

This long-awaited redevelopment is vital to the Woods Chapel corridor and will facilitate additional investment and redevelopment, keeping this gateway to our city in balance with other improvements taking place in Blue Springs.


Old atmosphere at new business in Blue Springs

clock May 18, 2011 15:08 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 Res“Shave and a haircut, two bits.”

The time of a shave and a haircut for just 25 cents is long gone in America, but Courtney Brothers Barber & Shaving Parlor at 1424 West U.S. 40 recently opened in Blue Springs, and I was excited to find that it offers and encourages the old-fashioned straight-razor shave. Gentlemen, while our ladies enjoy a trip to the day spa or beauty salon, it is time for us guys to get a little pampering too.

Mike and Matt Courtney do an excellent job of creating that old-fashioned barbershop feel that many of us remember from childhood; that nostalgic feeling of going to the barber shop on Saturday morning with our fathers and listening to the local men chat about the week’s business and who caught the biggest fish.

For me, it brings back memories of an older gentleman who sat each Saturday in the shop, hand carving walking canes with two wooden balls captured in a wooden cage naturally embedded in the handle of the cane. I always marveled at the magic of how he carved the cage without the legs breaking and still ended up with a viable walking cane.

Next door to the new barbershop, another new business opened its doors this week. Sandy’s Café is occupying the vacant location of the former Betty’s restaurant. I am looking forward to dropping in for breakfast and trying out the cuisine.

It is great to see to empty buildings occupied and new business in our town! Please join me in supporting our local businesses, both those that are new and those that have served our community for many years.

Buying local, choosing local businesses for our goods and services helps our local economy. Buy Blue Springs, because next door means more!


Closings, openings in Blue Springs

clock May 11, 2011 07:50 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResA common topic of conversation over the past several years has been the seemingly endless supply of empty buildings in Blue Springs. It’s a difficult situation, but there are glimmers of progress. The demolition of the old Sinclair station on Highway 7 began this week, making way for a new Quik Trip at the corner of Shaw Parkway and Highway 7. Those of us who do our shopping at Price Chopper will enjoy the convenience when utilizing the benefits of the partnership between Price Chopper and Quik Trip, as we enjoy the savings on our gas purchases.

Hy-Vee at the corner of 40 Hwy and 7 Hwy is well on its way to accomplishing a total remodel of the old K-Mart building with a new state of the art grocery store in the center of Blue Springs. Previously, I thought of the US-40 and Highway 7 intersection as the south end of town, but if you look at a map of our city you will find it is very close to the geographical center. I fully expect this development to be a catalyst for even more exciting enhancements to Blue Springs in the coming years.

Not long ago I realized that the Bua Thai restaurant had closed. I really enjoyed this restaurant and was disappointed to see it closed. Fortunately, a Thailand restaurant is now preparing to open in the Copperleaf Village shopping center across the street. I admit it; I peaked in the window this morning. I don’t know if it is the same owners or not, but some of the pictures and decorations are the same. I’m looking forward to tasting their cuisine!

These changes on our main north-south business corridor are encouraging. In the coming months our City Council will be examining policies that have restricted our existing businesses on Highway 7 and seeking solutions that will help businesses enhance their facilities and continue to improve the appearance of our city!


Sweets & Eats–Two Shopping Treats–New Businesses in Downtown Blue Springs

clock February 25, 2011 10:16 by author Jeff Quibell

Several years ago the city put in place new zoning and policies to encourage business development in the Blue Springs downtown area.  Our ongoing efforts to bring new businesses to the downtown continue to be a challenge, yet local business owners continue to step up and take the risks necessary to make it happen.  Recently two new businesses opened in downtown Blue Springs. 

Hattey’s on Main is located at 1005 W Main Street.  The feature Antiques, Consignment Sales, Estate Sales by Bonnie, Home Décor and Gifts, Lady Jayne Stationary Towers, Harney and Sons Teas, Custom made Floral and Jewelry.  Wanda and I visited the store recently and really enjoyed visiting with owner Bonnie Hutchcroft.

Memories on Main Street Tea Room & Café has also opened in downtown Blue Springs.  I have visited them also and believe that this gem of an addition to our downtown could rapidly become a gathering place for friends and neighbors for personal fellowship and just keeping up on what is going in our our great city.  Their menu includes Quiche, Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, Homemade Desserts, Flavored Teas and Specialty Coffees and Lattes.  They are located at 1105A W Main Street.

Sometimes we forget that there are open businesses in our downtown area, so the next time you find yourself crossing through the main street intersection on Highway 7, turn west and take the time to thank these local entrepreneurs for investing in our city by visiting there business!


New Stores and Restaurants Announced for Adams Dairy Landing

clock January 18, 2011 21:32 by author Jeff Quibell

Miscellaneous 004RED Development announced at tonight’s Blue Springs City Council meeting new stores and restaurants for Adams Dairy landing.  The new Verizon store being constructed next to Olive Garden is scheduled to open in February or March.  Chick-Fil-A is expecting to open in August.  Arby’s is planning to open on the eastern end of the I-70 pad sites in the Fall of 2011.  Michaels is now looking to open on February 4th. 

Ulta, a popular cosmetics store is planning to locate in the shopping center in the former Books-A-Million location.  Projected revenues from this project are double those projected for the former tenant which is an exciting improvement for this project.  If you are unfamiliar with Ulta, their website is located at http://www.ulta.com/.

Ross, a family clothing store, announced their intention to locate in the shopping center.  Their website is located at http://www.rossstores.com/.

Replacing the former Lowe’s store will be 50,000 sq. ft. T.J. Max and Home Goods combination store on the east side of  shopping center.

Finally, Charming Charlie will be opening a store in Adams Dairy Landing.  This highly popular fashion accessory store may open as soon as Fall 2011.  You can learn more about Charming Charlie at http://www.charmingcharlie.com/home.

.