The Star’s recommendation

Vote for better parks in Blue Springs

Updated: 2013-10-24T00:54:35Z

October 23

Blue Springs is one of the few large Missouri cities without a dedicated tax for parks improvements and one of the few in the Kansas City area without a community center.

City officials have put together a strong plan that would dramatically change that equation.

On Nov. 5, voters are being asked to approve a permanent, half-cent sales tax increase that would raise $3 million a year to finance parks-related projects, including a new recreation center.

The Star recommends a “yes” vote on the question.

Mayor Carson Ross recently praised the city’s park commission for spending a great deal of time evaluating the city’s needs. Members spoke to longtime residents as well as high school students to determine what activities and amenities would appeal to them.

Clear, sensible priorities emerged for this forward-looking community.

• Better maintain the city’s current parks, trails, tennis courts, playgrounds and shelters.

• Construct a community center that appeals to all ages with activities such as an indoor aquatic center, basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor track, meeting space and teen center.

Add park programs for seniors and others, and complete trails and improvements such as youth soccer fields in three existing parks.

Under a different city administration, Blue Springs officials tried but failed to pass a parks-related tax in 2001. The city has added about 4,000 people since then, and the need has grown to maintain aging parks and trails. Meanwhile, several area cities have built their own community centers.

Blue Springs voters should take advantage of this opportunity to invest in public assets that make the city attractive to residents and businesses.