Thursday, October 23, 2014

Downtown Martin City Phase 1 Facelift Complete

By Mary Wilson

Damon Hodges, project manager with Kansas City Public Works, welcomed guests to the completion of the first phase of Martin City’s 135th Street improvements on Thursday, October 16. The $9.1 million overhaul of the street has been divided into three sections. Phase one included 135th Street from Holmes to Oak; phase two will include from Oak to Wornall, with an anticipated start date by summer of 2015; and phase three includes Wornall to 150 Hwy.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said 6th District Councilman John Sharp. “Martin City is really a hidden treasure for Kansas City, and hopefully it won’t be so hidden now that we’re finally putting in the infrastructure that is long overdue. With so many great restaurants and shops, this is an entertainment mecca.”

Sharp added that Martin City is an area of Kansas City that receives a high percentage of visitors from Johnson County. Phase one was completed with a strong partnership with the county’s significant financial support, as well as the Martin City Community Improvement District.

“When you want to attract an upscale customer, it has to look nice,” said Sharp. “Now it does. We’re going to be working very hard to get the rest of the money we need for phase two.”

6th District Councilman Scott Taylor added that the Kansas City Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) unanimously contributed $2.3 million to the project.

“We all feel strongly in supporting Martin City,” said Taylor. “You can see the impact it already has. It’s much more family-friendly with sidewalks, and our hope is that this will attract new business and make this more of a destination.”

Taylor also said that Martin City is a revenue-driver for the city of Kansas City, bringing in new funds from neighboring cities. Taylor added that as chair of the city’s first ever Small Business Committee, he will continue doing whatever he can to make it easier for businesses to open in Martin City. The city has kept that commitment throughout the construction, passing an ordinance for a microbrewery in Martin City.

“We’ve set up a microloan program, a small business loan program, through the city in partnership with the Small Business Administration,” said Taylor. “You can receive up to a $50,000 loan to get a business started and help fill up some of these empty spaces so that we have full capacity in Martin City.”

Parties interested in the city’s microloan program can contact the Kansas City BizCare office at 816-513-2492, or by visiting the city’s website at www.kcmo.gov.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Where’s the Community?

A Column by Mary Wilson, Editor

 
For the third year in a row, I walked along Main Street with kids from Grandview as they celebrated one of the rites of their high school careers: Homecoming. This year, with their faces painted and their letter jackets on, the students at Grandview High School took to the community to garner support and encouragement from businesses and residents.

That support was incredibly lacking. As I geared up with my camera, finding the best spot to photograph the action, I noticed something that really hit a nerve. Before Main Street was closed off to traffic for the parade, several of the businesses surrounding mine, in the heart of Main Street, closed up shop and the owners and employees drove away. There were only a handful of families with small children who made the trek to show their support and maybe get a piece of candy or two.

The rest of Main Street was a ghost town. Whether it was a lack of the school district publicizing the event, or if people were simply too busy on their Friday afternoon, the Grandview community was noticeably absent.

The Grandview School District most recently scored, for the second year in a row, Accredited with Distinction on the Missouri School Improvement Plan grading system. Grandview High School has students with amazing abilities, both academically and athletically. Teenagers thrive on positive reinforcement, and not just from their teachers and parents.

Not too many years ago, when I was in high school, I remember Main Street was full of life on Homecoming Friday. Businesses would hang banners in support of Grandview High School, and the community would come together to build floats, hand out candy, and simply be present. Now it’s as if doors are closed, blinds are shut, and we go about our business as if nothing’s happening.

What changed in the last few years? Where’s the community when our kids are literally begging for attention?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mission: Main Street


By Mary Wilson

The Jackson County Advocate newspaper, your hometown news source, has applied for $150,000 through the Chase Mission Main Street grant program. In all, twenty small business will be awarded the grants, and in addition will receive a winnings package from Google.

The Advocate has been covering Grandview and South Kansas City for 61 years, and we’d like to expand that coverage to offer our readers a broader spectrum of local news. In addition to coverage expansion, we are looking at the development of a website that will offer online subscriptions through desktop, tablet or smartphone platforms.

In order to make this possible, we need your help. Please take a few moments to VOTE for the Jackson County Advocate on the Mission Main Street website. The link is available on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jcadvocatenewspaper. We need a minimum of 250 votes in order to advance to the panel review process. Help support your local newspaper, and VOTE for us today!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Message from the Publisher

Dear Readers,
Please accept my apology to you for our paper being late the last two weeks. Due to problems at our printer’s plant, they were not able to deliver them on time. They have been implementing new programs to provide better service, but we have not seen the progress yet. We have been working with them, and had received assurances that all difficulties were ironed out. We were also told that we would have no further problems. Unfortunately, lightning strikes at their plant took them down this week. They printed our paper in Sedalia yesterday morning, but were unable to get it back to the post office in time. Once again, I am embarrassed to say it will be one day late. While I understand acts of nature this week, that does not excuse the previous two weeks.
We depend on outside sourcing for printing, labeling, and mailing. They have let us down these past few weeks, and, in turn, we have let you down.
We will be starting with new providers next week. We hope the transition is seamless, and you will once again receive your papers on time. We remain committed to provide you with a quality, on-time local newspaper, whatever it takes.
I hope you will bear with us while we resolve these problems. Again, I am sorry.
Thank you,
Becky Davis
Publisher/Owner

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Hours for New Grandview Parks

By Mary Wilson

With the Grandview community embracing their new parks and showing their appreciation at the polls on August 5 with the passage of more no-tax-increase parks bonds, the excitement of what’s already been completed has received attention from neighboring cities. With an uptick in usage from Grandview residents, as well as the metro area as a whole, Grandview Parks and Recreation staff has also seen an increase in complaints.

“We are seeing a tremendous increase in park usage across the city,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Lucas. “With that increase, we are also seeing and hearing concerns from citizens regarding park usage after dark.”
The complaints have been from concerns stemming from Meadowmere, Mapleview and Valley Parks. Previously, city ordinance allowed for park usage between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. daily.

“The current ordinance makes it difficult for our police department to enforce the ordinance because if it’s 9:00 and dark outside, people are legally allowed to use the parks,” said Lucas. “Given that most of our parks are in neighborhoods, and the fact that not much good comes from activities after dark, we believe that the park hours need to be modified.”
Lucas discussed possible scenarios with staff and also gathered information from other area ordinances to determine what the best-case-scenario would be for Grandview. Ultimately, the Board of Aldermen voted to unanimously approve a new ordinance regarding park usage hours at the Tuesday, August 12 meeting.

Effective immediately, the ordinance now states that it is unlawful for any person to be on or in the premises, boundaries or facilities of any park or park facility between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from April 1 to October 31, and between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. from November 1 to March 31. An exception would be made for those participating in a scheduled, supervised program of the city’s parks and recreation department or with written permission from Lucas. Those breaking the ordinance could face a fine of up to $100, or face up to 90 days jail time.

“The police department preferred a scenario with set hours because it keeps things much cleaner for them and eliminates interpretation,” said Lucas.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 2014 Primary Election Results

Following Tuesday’s election, some races are over, while others are just beginning.

The primary sets in place candidates from each party who will be facing off in November. Below is a listing of the unofficial ballot results for local races with opponents, as well as the outcome of state and local amendments and questions.


For a complete listing of election results, visit http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

May Milling Enriches Grandview Community for Generations

By Mary Wilson

 


Since 1930, the May family has been milling about Grandview when J. Russell May bought Grandview Feed Mills, located on the corner of 6th and Rhodes, for $2000 from a man by the name of Edward Curtis. Over the years, May Milling Company has become a local institution. On Sunday, July 13, Rod May, Jr. shared the history of the family business with members of the Grandview Historical Society.

Currently working as manager of May Milling, Rod, Jr. is a fifth-generation mill worker for the May family. His father, Rod May, Sr., operated the business from the late 1960s until his semi-retirement in 1994. Perched on a seat made of feed bags, Rod, Jr. joked that the May family should go into the furniture business.

The May family has been in the grain business since 1898, when Rod, Jr.’s great-great grandfather came from Scotland and got into the cooper barrel-making business in Independence. When business began to decline in the 1890s, he switched gears and installed an elevator and a scale and started the grain business. That would become the May Coal and Feed Company at 407 South Liberty Street in Independence. The family also owned May Grain Company in Dodson, MO.

In June of 1938, the Mays acquired Quisenberry Feed Manufacturing Company, located at 258 W 3rd Street in Kansas City. This plant produced the feed for the Grandview mill and for many feed retail stores in the Midwest, and the base of operations was moved to Quisenberry, later changing its name to May Way Mills, Inc.

In September of 1939, Grandview Feed Mills burned down. The mill burned for two days, due to an overheated ball bearing in the oat crimper. The entire facility was made of wood and tin.

“There were people in Grandview who would come home, eat dinner, and then go down to the mill to watch it burn,” said May.

It was a total, devastating loss. Today, all that remains of the original building is a concrete walk-in safe. After the fire, J. Russell bought the Dodson mill from his father, Nephi May, for $1. In 1940, Grandview Feed Mills opened a new office across from the old plant on Rhodes Avenue. There were two small warehouses and a large haybarn located at 6th and Main.

Both small warehouses burned down later, and operations were moved inside the large haybarn. With its plank floors, milling machinery and an elevator installation, Grandview Feed Mills changed its name to May Milling Company in 1940, where it continues operations today. The interior of the warehouse was built with old wooden boxcar sides.

When they reopened, customer parking space was needed on the east side of the building. At the time, the Mays leased land from the railroad. When lease pricing kept climbing to the point where it wasn’t worth the price, the Mays then moved the entrance to the west side of the building, with use of the new dock and entrance beginning in 1994.

Due to J. Russell’s failing health in 1957, Rod, Sr. moved to Kansas City, where he worked with his father in the office until he was no longer able to work. J. Russell died in 1971, and when his wife, Elizabeth, died in 1985, ownership of the two companies passed to her sons, with Rod, Sr. taking over operations.

In 1989, Quisenberry Mills was sold to Timothy Blevin, and was closed within the next two years.

Over the years, former employees have come in to tell stories of their times working in the mill. The family looks forward to hearing from visitors of the past. Presently, May Milling Company sells its own brand of dog food, horse feed, wild bird food and several kinds of feed for domestic birds. The only feed produced and bagged at their location is the domestic bird feed.

May Milling is also home to cats, and patrons may remember the calico with the reputation of being the best “mouser” ever. Located at 606 Main Street in Grandview, May Milling also carries different brands of feed for all kinds of animals, as well as cooking spices, dog treats, and an assortment of other items.