Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cerner Breaks Ground in South Kansas City's Former Bannister Mall Site

By Paul Thompson


The Cerner Corporation officially broke ground Wednesday, November 12, on the largest economic development project in the history of Missouri.
Cerner’s new $4.45 billion Trails Campus, to be located at the former site of South Kansas City’s Bannister Mall, is expected to create up to 16,000 new high-paying jobs over the next ten years. Cerner’s Zane Burke – the CEO of the 35-year-old health care technology solutions company – discussed the new development in an official ground-breaking press conference.
“This campus is proof of our commitment to the area, and our commitment to growth in Kansas City,” said Burke. “There are jobs that don’t exist today.  We’re not relocating, we’re not back-filling, we’re not consolidating; these are new jobs that we hope to fill with a homegrown, Kansas City workforce.”
Those new employees will be spread throughout two data centers, a service center, a training/conference center, an on-site daycare and health center, and 4.3 million square feet of office space at the new campus. In addition, Cerner has set aside space for retail development, which will include restaurants and an on-site hotel.
“Once completed, it will truly be a development that Kansas City and all of us can be proud of,” said Burke.
The development is expected to invigorate what has been one of Kansas City’s most blighted areas. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, in town to celebrate the ground-breaking, acknowledged that there were some outside of Kansas City who thought Bannister Mall couldn’t be redeveloped so quickly.
“If you had told somebody five years ago that an old and blighted shopping center, full of nothing but empty parking lots, deserted after decades of decline, would one day be home to the largest development project in the history of our great state, with more than $4.4 billion in investments and 16,000 high-paying jobs on the way, they would have said, ‘it’s impossible,’” Nixon stated.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James was also on-hand for the monumental event. James noted that while the development is a great boon for South Kansas City, it will help the rest of the metro area, as well.
“To make an investment like what we’re celebrating today, you have to have vision, and you have to have guts,” said James.  “It’s not only pivotal, it’s catalytic. That’s absolutely crucial to the people who live in this part of town, it’s absolutely crucial to the growth of Kansas City, and to the tax base of Kansas City.”
Southern Communities Coalition co-chair Carol McClure stated her support of Cerner’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the area.
“This is a big day for South Kansas City. It is exciting to be here today for the ribbon cutting of the new Cerner Trails Campus,” she said. “It has taken better than a decade for this to happen, but the community’s support has always been there. We never gave up the notion that South KC would thrive again. On the horizon is Oxford on the Blue and Northpointe, both on 87th Street. This is all good news!”
 

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/.