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.