News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Participate in the Second Woods Chapel Road Improvements Open House

clock November 18, 2009 18:03 by author Jeff Quibell

CITY OF BLUE SPRINGS, MISSOURI
MEDIA ADVISORY
903 W. Main Street Blue Springs, MO 64015 P: 816.228.0110 F: 816.228.7592 W: www.bluespringsgov.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: November 17, 2009
CONTACT: Merideth Parrish, Public Information Officer
Phone: 816.655.0497, Cell: 816.935.4176
Email: mparrish@bluespringsgov.com

Open House Public Meeting Scheduled for
Woods Chapel Road Improvements, November 19, 2009


Blue Springs, Mo. – The City of Blue Springs, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and District 2 City
Councilmen Sissy Reed and Kent Edmondson will host a second open house-style public meeting on Thursday,
November 19, to share plans for Woods Chapel Road Improvements from I-70 to south of Briarwood Drive. The project
team, TranSystems of Kansas City, Mo., will be on hand to answer questions from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Valley View High
School, 5000 NW Valley View Road, Blue Springs, MO 64015.

The City of Blue Springs encourages anyone who uses this route to stop by, review preliminary plans, share project
issues and concerns, and provide written comments at the public meeting. No formal presentations will be made.

For questions or additional information, visit www.bluespringsgov.com/woodschapel or contact the Blue Springs
Engineering Department at (816) 228-0121.

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Open House Public Meeting Scheduled for Woods Chapel Road Improvements

clock November 5, 2009 21:28 by author Jeff Quibell

image CITY OF BLUE SPRINGS, MISSOURI
image MEDIA ADVISORY
903 W. Main Street Blue Springs, MO 64015 P: 816.228.0110 F: 816.228.7592 W: www.bluespringsgov.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: November 5, 2009, 2009
CONTACT: Merideth Parrish, Public Information Officer
Phone: 816.655.0497, Cell: 816.935.4176
Email: mparrish@bluespringsgov.com
Open House Public Meeting Scheduled for
Woods Chapel Road Improvements, November 12, 2009

Blue Springs, Mo. – The City of Blue Springs and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) will host an open
house-style public meeting on Thursday, November 12, to share plans for Woods Chapel Road Improvements from I-70
to south of Briarwood Drive. The project team, TranSystems of Kansas City, Mo., will be on hand to answer questions
from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Howard L. Brown Safety Building, Multi-purpose Room, 1100 SW Smith St., Blue Springs,
MO 64015.


The City of Blue Springs and MoDOT encourage anyone who uses this route to stop by, review preliminary plans, share
project issues and concerns, and provide written comments at the public meeting. No formal presentations will be made.
For questions or additional information, visit www.bluespringsgov.com/woodschapel or contact the Blue Springs
Engineering Department at (816) 228-0121.

###


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!


Changes coming to key intersection

clock September 3, 2009 08:12 by author Jeff Quibell

JeffQ Photo As much as I enjoy writing these articles, at times life gets in the way. Recently, Wanda and I traveled to Las Vegas to visit our daughter Crystal, stopping along the way to see the Grand Canyon. We returned home and have helped care for my father following his quadruple bypass surgery at St Luke’s Hospital last week. Thank you for the support and prayers from so many of our friends on his behalf. I was also touched knowing that many of you missed this column while we were gone.

I attended the Blue Springs City Council work session Monday evening. These meetings are designed for the council to discuss issues that are under consideration and for future plans and concerns to be brought up for evaluation. The meetings are open to the public, but not yet televised. I strongly encourage Mayor Ross and the council to begin televising these meetings. It would be another step toward transparency for our local government!

Many of you will be happy to hear that the council is working on the details of the Woods Chapel Road improvements that you approved in 2008.

Some of the items included in this plan are: placing signals at the intersection of Briarwood and Castle Drive; sidewalks and bike lanes as the roadway is improved; expansion of the Valley View Drive intersection; and the South Outer Road relocated further south to allow better traffic flow onto Woods Chapel and to the surrounding businesses.

Most exciting will be the conversion of the I-70 Interchange to a Diverging Diamond Interchange, the 2nd of this design in the United States. This new concept in interchange layout will move morning and afternoon traffic efficiently on and off of I-70 for traffic volumes projected as far into the future as 2030. An example of this type of interchange is up and running in Springfield at the intersection of MO-13 and I-44 http://tinyurl.com/ddinterchange.

We all recognize that the wheels of government often turn slowly. But, when progress is encouraged and allowed to develop, good things happen. The plans for these improvements should be complete by early 2010, with bids going out by the end of 2010. Construction will begin in 2011 with anticipated completion by 2013. My compliments to Mayor Ross and the City Council for continuing to move this important project forward!

One final thought on Woods Chapel. Let’s not forget to patronize the businesses along this corridor as road construction and necessary improvements may make it more difficult to access them in the future. While this will be a short term inconvenience, the long term benefits will allow this north-south artery to be a more welcoming Western gateway to our city.


Welcome work along Woods Chapel

clock June 3, 2009 22:18 by author Jeff Quibell

In words from the old “The A-Team” on television, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

While that dates me to some extent, it characterizes what I see happening all around us in Blue Springs. Our most recent citizens’ survey showed an acceleration of the positive way our residents are viewing the changes made to our city by our elected leaders in recent years. Mayor Ross is leading a positive charge toward the future that transcends the current down economy and shows that there are more great things to look forward to in Blue Springs.

In the last few weeks our City Council has approved additional funding to ensure the success of the Missouri Innovation Park. As many know, this project stands to bring thousands of high-paying jobs to our city. The influx of new development and employees will likely rekindle development in the southern part of the city and encourage redevelopment of the many vacant properties near Missouri 7 and U.S. 40.

On Monday, the City Council approved changes to the Oaks at Woods Chapel planned unit development. This exciting development may finally bring a grocery store to the Woods Chapel corridor. In combination with the recently approved street bond issue, Woods Chapel will receive much-needed traffic improvements in the very near future.
The council also approved the early issuance of some of the bonds for Adams Dairy Landing, once again over the objections of District 3 Councilmen Ron Fowler and Sheila Solon. If you have the opportunity, watch the council meeting at http://tinyurl.com/bsc090601.

The debate was fascinating. One of the exciting things discussed was how the latest revenue estimates for the project have grown. If this comes to fruition, the bonds could be paid off earlier than originally anticipated and the cost to our taxpayers would be reduced. Now that is fiscally responsible!


Blue Springs City Council considers bond issuance for Adams Dairy Landing & changes for a possible grocery store on Woods Chapel

clock June 1, 2009 14:50 by author Jeff Quibell

This evening (June 1, 2009) the Blue Springs City Council will be considering the early issuance of bonds to allow the Adams Dairy Landing project to continue to progress towards completion.  They will also be considering changes to the Planned Unit Development for the Oaks at Woods Chapel where a possible grocery store is again in the works for western Blue Springs.  I am looking forward to the debate!


Leaders must weigh issues carefully

clock May 14, 2009 09:48 by author Jeff Quibell

DSC04450Residents on the west side of Blue Springs have long been asking when the city would pay more attention to Woods Chapel Road and the west side of Blue Springs. Hopefully, they may soon get their answer.

The City Council is to hold a May 18 hearing for the “Petition to Establish the Oaks at Woods Chapel Community Improvement District,” and many are eager to see the details of the proposal.  Seeing the item is on the agenda is an indication that the Oaks at Woods Chapel project is again trying to move forward. With the road improvements recently approved by Blue Springs voters, there may soon be a lot of activity on the west side of town.

On the Adams Dairy Landing project, discussion in the press has centered on whether the city will provide backing for an early offering of a portion of the bonds for road improvements that have already been completed and paid for by RED Development. Councilman Ron Fowler recently wrote, “What this really comes down to is the developers profit vs. taxpayer risk.” The question under consideration has taxpayer risk on both sides of the equation. If the city takes action that allows the project to fail, there is a risk of blight created by a partially completed project at a major intersection and entrance to our city.

Councilman Fowler is correct to suggest that the council needs to carefully consider the risks to the taxpayer. This deserves meaningful council discussion and debate. Perhaps in the future we will see that debate, with each council member discussing the positive and negative aspects of the question and working together to find the best solution.

The TIF projects approved in recent years had many layers of protection built in to protect our taxpayers’ interests. One such protection deals with the profit that the developer may make in return for an investment. The TIF agreements protect our taxpayers by requiring the developer to share their profit with our city, should the project exceed the profit range detailed in the TIF agreement. Think about that for a moment. By working together with the developer and helping them succeed, the taxpayers may get a bonus by sharing in any extra profits. That certainly deserves consideration.

I encourage our leaders to carefully evaluate the details of the TIF agreement, have a meaningful discussion of the pros and cons, and then and only then make their final decision on backing the bonds.