News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Innovation Park plans advancing

clock January 13, 2010 10:50 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQ Photo There is a lot of talk around town regarding the Missouri Innovation Park, a development that is sure to change the face of the future of Blue Springs. A “Show Me” attitude is part of the culture in Missouri, and some need to see dirt moving and buildings under construction to truly believe that the Innovation Park, bringing with it the desired growth of quality jobs, is a reality.

Community leaders in Blue Springs laid a path many years ago, putting in place the key components to support the development of the Innovation Park by establishing the vision for Adams Dairy Parkway. As that vision has evolved, we have seen the addition of retail and restaurants, which add another component necessary to the realization of the original vision for Adams Dairy Parkway.

Two and a half years ago, as the first details regarding the park began to emerge, Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation President Brien Starner and I had long conversations about the potential the park brought to our community. It was clear that the stars were aligning for success. A project of this type normally takes, on average, approximately five years to develop the support of all the various organizations necessary for success.

In this instance, the Missouri Innovation Park has the support of the City of Blue Springs, the University of Missouri, the Blue Springs School District, the Central Jackson Country Fire Protection District, the Blue Springs Economic Development Corp., the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Kansas City Area Development Council, Jackson County, the Mid-Continent Public Library system, and many other entities in the region and state in just two short years.

This support by so many public and private organizations is vital to the success of the project and is a direct result of the passion and commitment of current and past mayors and councils, Brien Starner, and the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation members.
Despite the current national economy, the project has continued to move forward. New legislation, referred to as “Jobs for the Future,” has been filed and would enable projects like the Missouri in Innovation Park not only for Blue Springs, but also for progressive communities all over Missouri. This legislation would allow cities more control over their own economic destiny, with the intent of attracting high-quality public and private jobs.

Our city now stands at a precipice of key decisions and actions. As citizens, we need to join with our elected leaders and the leaders of these supporting organizations to see the fulfillment of this vision for our city. In the coming weeks there will be announcements that will show visible progress and the beginning of construction of the Mizzou Innovation Center which will anchor the project and provide the intellectual property that will spur the creation of high-tech jobs in the park. The possibilities are endless, and I am excited to see this vision come to fruition.


Coming soon to Blue Springs, Legend of Asia Restaurant

clock November 18, 2009 18:25 by author Jeff Quibell

It's not just a rumor. Blue Springs will soon enjoy an international treat.

Legend of Asia, a huge new local restaurant is a creative Japanese and Chinese fusion. It is the creation of local Chef-Restaurateur George Xiao, three times winner of the coveted "Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA" awarded in the category of "Top 100 Nutrition Friendly Menus". This award goes to the most exceptional restaurants, which have demonstrated the highest standards of cleanliness, cuisine, décor and service from more than 45,000 restaurant entries in the USA.

Think all Chinese Buffets are the same? Legend of Asia will offer a spacious 9,240 square foot restaurant that will comfortably seat 338 people. The Buffet will offer over 80 Chinese Dishes and over 25 varieties of authentic Japanese Sushi, skillfully prepared and artfully presented. Plus, there will be many kinds of salads, fruits and desserts to choose from. Only the freshest ingredients are used in everything. No MSG is used and cold pressed olive oil is used in their stir fried dishes. You will love their Egg Rolls, Crab Rangoon, General Tso's Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki Stick and many more items offered in the buffet. Plus, Special Buffet Chinese dishes are offered that are cooked in front of you, such as Pan Fried Dumplings, Fried Rice, LO Mein and Egg Foo Young along with many kinds of Barbecue. If you are looking for even more variety, Legend of Asia definitely offers it with over 150 items on the Chinese Menu and over 60 items on the Japanese Sushi Menu. Whether youre throwing a party or just looking for a great place to eat, be sure to check this restaurant out!

Just drive out south on 7 highway and you will see construction well underway at the new Southridge Shopping Center. Mr. Xiao expects to open in Mid-December 2009.


Keep the city’s momentum going

clock November 18, 2009 18:08 by author Jeff Quibell

Jeff2007 The city is working diligently on the road improvements planned for Woods Chapel Road, and the work is progressing even though it is not yet visible.

Recently the city held a public meeting to provide information and answer questions regarding the current progress and details of the project proposed. Once planning and right-of-way acquisition is complete, utility relocation is scheduled to begin next fall and actual roadway construction is estimated to begin the summer of 2011. Completion of the project is anticipated in 2013. As the westernmost north-south corridor in Blue Springs, Woods Chapel Road improvements are long overdue and will be a welcome enhancement to this area of our community.  This information is available at http://www.bluespringsgov.com/woodschapel.

Wanda and I had the privilege of volunteering at five of the Ararat Shrine Circus shows this past weekend, and we, along with thousands of others, had the pleasure of attending the first two Missouri Mavericks hockey games at the new Independence Events Center. After tailgating with Happy Hour and the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, we cheered the Mavericks on to their second home victory Saturday evening. What a beautiful facility!

Driving through Coronado Place and Adams Dairy Landing recently, the signs of new shopping and dining opportunities are impossible to miss. The Gap Generations store and Sally Beauty Supply will be open very soon. Chipotle, Mattress Firm and Game Stop are coming along nicely. Furniture Gallery has opened across from Wal-Mart, and the Olive Garden restaurant is beginning to take shape across from Home Depot, joining Texas Roadhouse as another full-service dining option.

Sales tax revenue from all of these projects is already having a positive impact on our city’s revenue. That will continue to improve as more people become aware of the new shopping and dining opportunities in Blue Springs. As these developments continue to attract new retail and restaurant tenants, our local buying choices expand. The success of these new businesses is critical to our community’s economic health, so remember to buy Blue Springs!

Along with all of these new retail opportunities, Missouri Innovation Park continues to be a bright star on the horizon. While this is a complicated project with many technical facets, the positive impact that thousands of new, high-paying, quality jobs will have on the future growth of our community and the region cannot be overestimated.

Progress on these developments will bring new opportunities, for many areas in our community, to consider in the coming months. Now is the time for our city leaders to have a vision beyond the individual projects and continue to have the flexibility to adjust as the market responds to our successes!


Target is Open in Blue Springs

clock October 7, 2009 20:21 by author Jeff Quibell

Target 001This evening Wanda and I went shopping at Target in Blue Springs!  It is hard to believe that four and one-half years have passed since the first time I had the opportunity to meet with a Target representative about bringing a Target Store to our community.  Since then the efforts of many people have resulted in the opening of the first store at Adams Dairy Landing.

First Wal-Mart, then Home Depot, then Coronado Place’s bank, restaurants, and stores, and now Target.  With dozens more yet to come, Blue Springs is suddenly hopping with business.

As the development work continues on Adams Dairy Landing, it is important that we all remember to patronize these businesses even when it might be inconvenient.  From October 12 to 14 this coming week, Coronado Drive will be closed for final construction.  To get to Wal-Mart or Home Depot you will need to enter from R.D. Mize road, the back entrances to both of these businesses.  For the businesses in Coronado Place you should approach from Mock Avenue or Sunnyside Road and enter from the west entrance by Sports City.

Please keep these businesses in mind and make a special effort to get out and patronize them during the construction.  We want to show all of our new businesses that we are happy they have chosen to do business in our city!


Development group is working well

clock September 23, 2009 16:43 by author Jeff Quibell

Jeff2007small During my time in office I had the pleasure of corresponding with thousands of Blue Springs residents regarding city business. On Saturday’s Examiner opinion page, one of those residents raised some good points that should be considered when talking about the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation.

It is true. I have a bias in favor of the Blue Springs EDC. It is also true that I am one of the investing partners in the Blue Springs EDC. When the public/private partnership of the Blue Springs EDC was formed, the City Council continued the $300,000 annual budget allocation that had previously funded the city’s Economic Development Department as the public side of the venture.

The city then solicited businesses and private individuals to partner in the formation of the EDC, to be advocates for growth in Blue Springs. Those investing partners may be found at http://bit.ly/bsedcmem

From 2005 through 2011, Wanda and I have paid and/or committed $15,000 of our own personal funds through our company, CPros. As local IT professionals and custom software developers, we believe in giving back, and this is just one of the ways we choose to support our community.

Each of you living in Blue Springs is committed by the City Council to an annual contribution of approximately $5.45 (or a total of $32.70 over six years) through the taxes that you pay to the city each year.

So what is the return on the investment that Mr. Comerford is referring to in his letter, which he believes will benefit me financially? That return is economic growth for our city. And the great thing about this return is that each Blue Springs resident receives exactly the same return on your investment as I do.

Let’s talk about what that means to each of us. Is that investment worth having a new Target store in town? Is it worth getting a shopping center with Gap Outlet, Staples, Petco, Famous Footwear, Gordman’s, Maurices, Olive Garden, Chipotle, Gamestop, Arby’s, Sally Beauty Target, Lowes and Books-A-Million? Is it worth seeing three tired old strip malls totally refurbished? Is it worth capturing a science and technology park that will bring thousands of 21st-century, high-paying, quality jobs to our city and position Blue Springs as an international research destination?

I believe my investment is justified, and I’m proud to support the EDC in its efforts to provide quality growth for Blue Springs. Each one of you can communicate your belief to your councilmen. There is much more work to do, but each of you should feel confident that our EDC is effectively and professionally promoting our city and bringing new retail and employment opportunities to Blue Springs!

The Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation is non-profit, and its investing partners receive no direct financial benefit.


City needs to address sign issue

clock September 9, 2009 17:23 by author Jeff Quibell

DSC04409 As you drive through Blue Springs, there continue to be signs of development. The first phase of Adams Dairy Landing is preparing to open Oct. 11. The McDonald’s that has stood on Missouri 7 for more than 36 years has been demolished and will be rebuilt. The shopping center on Woods Chapel is getting a long needed facelift. The first tenant is getting ready to open in the Southridge Shopping Center. Virtually every part of our city is seeing some kind of development.

Still, much work remains to be done to keep our city moving forward. In a work session last week, the City Council began considering changes to our sign code. This important part of our development code is involved in managing how businesses in our city make us aware they are here and open for business.

During my time in office I heard from many business owners who felt our sign code is too restrictive. If you watch our Planning Commission meetings you will see that time and time again business owners run into obstacles that keep them from getting the signs they want and need to advertise.

The codes are strict to help improve the appearance of our business corridors. Yet if they are too strict, businesses can’t get the signs they need. Parkside Books, behind Einstein Bros. on M-7, is a prime example. Our codes keep them from placing a sign near the highway to let customers know they are there. They have been working with the city for several years to find a way to make their business more visible to no avail.

McDonald’s on M-7 had to limit the length of time for the reconstruction of its store to keep its signature golden arches, which don’t meet our current sign code requirements. Panera Bread had to get special permission for its highway-facing signage because it didn’t meet the requirements of our current sign code. These are just a few examples.

My encouragement to our mayor and council is to listen to the needs of our existing and new businesses and find creative ways to make our city more inviting to the businesses we want and need. I am confident the sign code can be modified to accommodate those needs while keeping our business districts attractive. Be sure to speak with your councilmen and give them your guidance on this important issue for our city!


Tenants for Adams Dairy Landing

clock September 3, 2009 11:26 by author Jeff Quibell

Grand Canyon Jeff Upon my return from vacationing at the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, I learned that Gap Outlet, Staples, Petco, Famous Footwear, Gordman’s, Maurices, Olive Garden, Chipotle,
Gamestop, Arby’s and Sally Beauty will join Target, Lowes and Books-A-Million at Adams Dairy Landing in Blue Springs. These are just a few of the tenants that will open at the shopping center.

The 550,000 square-foot shopping center is located at the southeast corner of I-70 and
Adams Dairy Parkway in Blue Springs, Missouri. Phase I of the project will open on October 11, 2009 and will include Target, Sally Beauty, Gamestop, Maurices, Gap Outlet and Chipotle. Phase II will open in Spring 2010 and will include Lowes, Gordman’s, Petco, Books-A-Million, Staples, Famous Footwear, Olive Garden and Arby’s.

It is exciting to see how much our city has advanced over the last four years and to think about what remains to be achieved.  Please join me in thanking RED Development for bringing this quality development to our city!


Business Owner Treated Poorly

clock August 13, 2009 19:04 by author Jeff Quibell

507_DSC_5450 “Why is the city of Blue Springs so difficult to work with?”

During my time on the City Council, that question came up repeatedly. While there are many answers, an example was seen at the Aug. 3 council meeting.

Over the past several years we have seen significant progress in Blue Springs. Coronado Place, Copperleaf Village, the Mall at Fall Creek and Parker Center are all projects that have addressed blighted areas. Despite opposition from our District 3 council members, each of these projects has improved the visual landscape of our community and enhanced quality of life for our citizens.

One project presented to the council in 2006 was the Village Gardens redevelopment. It had several benefits for our city. It eliminated an aging building, and a beautiful new Village Gardens building was constructed. The old lot was cleaned up and marketing began, with the intention of a new restaurant for the corner. The total project will generate additional revenue for our taxing entities, including the school district, which is the primary reason it supported the project in 2006.

Jump now to the present, and last week’s council meeting. Village Gardens asked for a two-year extension of the deadline of when tax abatement for the corner lot must be activated. The original contract with the city allowed for an extension for reasons beyond the owner’s control. Certainly the current economic downturn constituted reasons beyond the owner’s control. When Council Member Sheila Solon said “... it’s a very bad contract that didn’t serve the citizens,” I have to admit I had a hard time understanding her interpretation.

I find it hard to imagine anyone opposing the elimination of the blight at this location in 2006. Monday evening, Council Members Fowler and Solon attempted to justify that opposition. In my opinion, their poor treatment of a local business owner – one who has invested his own funds in this project – was unnecessary but typical. It illuminates the issue expressed by many business owners and developers of their concern about choosing to do business in our city. As I attended various Chamber of Commerce events last week, the council meeting was a frequent topic of conversation.

On the bright side, Kingsridge Center on Woods Chapel is receiving a facelift. This area is long overdue for attention and redevelopment, and it’s encouraging to see owners investing in their property. As our council members continue to disagree on the best direction for our city, I would encourage you to make your voice heard. Whether you agree or disagree with their statements and actions, let them know your thoughts. And remember, the next City Council election is next April.


Pay it forward Blue Springs (Updated)

clock July 9, 2009 10:02 by author Jeff Quibell

On Monday, a "Pay it Forward" chain began at the Steamin' Bean in Blue Springs.  I dropped by to purchase a Latte this morning (July 9, 2009) and found myself to be the 392nd recipient since Monday in an unbroken chain of "Paying it forward".  Go to http://www.aboutbluesprings.com/post/2009/07/06/Pay-it-forward-Blue-Springs!.aspx to see the original article about what is happening in Blue Springs.