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!