Thursday, January 30, 2014

City of Grandview Showing Improvement

By Mary Wilson
The Grandview Chamber of Commerce and the City of Grandview hosted the annual State of the City luncheon on Thursday, January 23, at the View community center. In his first public appearance since being appointed, Grandview Mayor Leonard Jones addressed area business and community leaders.
Mayor Jones was first elected as Ward 1 Alderman on April 7, 1998. Currently, he serves on the Grandview Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and actively participates in many municipal
organizations. Mayor Jones has been a resident of Grandview for over forty years and graduated from Grandview High School. He served as a Supply Corps officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves and has been employed by Sprint for over 25 years. He and his wife, Michelle, have three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandsons. Due to the recent resignation of former Mayor Steve Dennis, Mayor Jones was appointed on Tuesday, January 21, and will serve until the election on April 8.

“This has been a very difficult couple of weeks, and you all are aware of that,” Mayor Jones said. “But there are some good things that I want to really stand out. With all that has been going on, city staff has done an admirable job at being professional, making sure that work that needs to be done has been completed, and all the extra work that has been done with all the phone calls and emails.”

According to Mayor Jones, city staff has met every state-mandated deadline for records requests having to do with former Mayor Dennis. Mayor Jones publicly thanked city staff for going above
and beyond their call of duty and handling the situation with professional courtesy.

“As a resident and an alderman, we understand the stress that you’ve been under,” said Mayor Jones. “We really do appreciate it, so thank you very much.”

The Board of Aldermen, too, according to Mayor Jones, remained professional in their endeavors and in their communication.

“I’ve had residents email me and say they are so grateful that we never went negative,” said Mayor Jones. “We stayed positive and to-the-point. That’s a great testament to the Board of Aldermen that we have here. We have been honest, with the best integrity possible.”

Mayor Jones referred to the Board of Aldermen as family-like, and kept their tasks above the Board. He also said that despite the long road ahead, as a Board they are making good progress in the city.

“Grandview is moving forward,” said Mayor Jones. “Regardless of what happens, we’re on the right path to making good, good progress.”

City Administrator Cory Smith, before introducing each department head, gave an overview of accomplishments and strides the city made in 2013. He opened by saying after the start of 2014, the City of Grandview has a lot of good news to share.

“Whether football or basketball, I know many of you root for your favorite teams,” said Smith. “My question to you today is: how many of you are rooting for Grandview?”

According to Smith, the city has gradually improved infrastructure, public safety, parks and playgrounds, facilities, transportation access, communications and economic development processes.

“Those are all things that don’t just happen,” said Smith. “They take leadership and direction from our Mayor and Board of Aldermen.”

The elected leaders for the City of Grandview, Smith said, have been busy setting goals and planning the future of Grandview for many years now. He also spoke of Grandview’s experience with difficulties and challenges, including the closing of the air base, a regional mall, and the one-way frontage roads along I-49. Grandview city and community leaders are proactively targeting issues that hinder or diminish the possibility of economic development activity in the city.

“We’re not going to get down because of a little adversity at the moment,” said Smith. “We’re looking straight ahead, one success at a time.”

Smith also recognized the Grandview C-4 School District for their accomplishments over the last few years. He also stated that Grandview has the best Chamber of Commerce staff in the Midwest.
“The state of the city is improving every day,” said Smith. “We want to share the good news.”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CenterPoint Properties Discusses Remediation and Redevelopment of Bannister Federal Complex

By Mary Wilson
Officials from CenterPoint Properties were invited to speak to residents of South Kansas City at the Southern Communities Coalition meeting on Wednesday, January 15.

CenterPoint Properties was chosen after a competitive bid as a preferred partner to work on the Bannister Federal Complex remediation efforts and also be the developer that works on the redevelopment of the complex for the Missouri Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Three years ago, Jim Cross, Senior Vice President Government Services and Development with CenterPoint, began putting the proposal together. According to Cross, around six months ago, CenterPoint was chosen as the preferred partner and began discussions with the Department of  Energy, the NNSA, the GSA, and other governmental agencies on the clean-up efforts that will take place.

Cross has developed teams to work on the due diligence of the property, and will continue working on research of the existing facilities for up to another year and a half.

“We’re hoping, if all goes well, we’ll be doing meaningful environmental cleanup out there in the next eighteen months,” said Cross. “At the same time we’re doing that, we’ll be doing demolition.”

The entire cleanup will take approximately twenty-four to thirty-six months total. According to Cross, the reason why CenterPoint is making the investment in the property is to repurpose the land for future use. Cross also stated that while there are thousands of pages of reports on the contaminants that are possibly on the property, CenterPoint will do their own independent research
and ensure that the property is qualified under Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) standards.

Kevin Breslin, an attorney for CenterPoint, also stated that the structures currently on the property were evaluated and determined unfit for future needs.

“The buildings are simply 1940s buildings,” said Breslin. “They served their purpose at the time they were constructed. They served their purpose for many years, but even the NNSA could no longer realistically function in the building.”

Once the site is clear, CenterPoint will begin working on the issues in the subsurface of the property. CenterPoint will determine the condition of the property as a whole, report those conditions, and then remediate it for approval with MDNR for reuse and redevelopment.

“We won’t build at the site until such time as we’re satisfied and the regulators are satisfied that it’s ready to be built upon,” said Breslin. “We’re in the business of buying and then leasing or selling properties. We can’t lease it and we can’t sell it unless we prove to new industry that wants to come there that it’s been cleaned up satisfactorily.”

The redevelopment of the site will fall under the City of Kansas City’s urban redevelopment process, which CenterPoint will voluntarily submit to. This transfers the decision-making for the redevelopment of the Bannister Federal Complex to the City of Kansas City. It will be a public process, with opportunity for public input. Due to this process, the exact look and purpose of the redevelopment remains to be seen.

“This is exactly what the city council wanted to happen at the Bannister Federal Complex,” said Sixth District Councilman John Sharp. “We’ve got a developer that knows what they’re doing and I think this will be a great site for future development.”

The next regular meeting for the Southern Communities Coalition will be Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Baptiste Educational Center, 5401 E. 103rd Street in Kansas City.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Grandview Lady Bulldogs Endure First Loss

By Paul Thompson

Drea Lesure’s desperation three-point attempt as time expired missed the mark, and the Grandview Lady Bulldogs lost for the first time this season in a 55-53 defeat at the hands of William Chrisman last Friday night in the Ray-Pec Sonic Classic.
The sides battled back and forth throughout, and neither team finished a quarter with a lead greater than three points. But the Lady Bulldogs failed to execute late, and Chrisman attacked the basket relentlessly to take the win.
“We’ve got to finish the ball game,” said Grandview head coach Shannon Moore. “We had our opportunities. We were in the double bonus, and we missed some crucial free throws that cost us.”
Each team had moments where they appeared on the verge of taking over. In the first quarter, Grandview went down 14-8 before Moore called a timeout to re-focus his team. The Lady Bulldogs had been flummoxed by the Chrisman press early, and had been careless with the ball. But they came out of the timeout energized, and freshman point guard Zoie Reynolds quickly nailed a three-pointer. Freshman center Nataya Partee finished a transition lay-up in the quarter’s closing seconds to bring the Bulldogs within one point, at 14-13.
From there, Grandview continued to streak. Sophomore Carlee Bidondo and Reynolds hit layups, and senior Alex Dobbins sunk two mid-range jumpers to cap off a 16-2 run. By the time the streak was over, the Bulldogs held a 24-16 lead. Much like the Lady Bulldogs in the first quarter, though, Chrisman fought back in the closing moments before halftime, finishing the second quarter with a 5-0 run to bring the count to 24-21, Grandview.
The Lady Bulldogs came out of the half firing on all cylinders, and held as much as an eight-point lead in the third quarter. Dobbins once again got some good looks to help extend the lead, finishing strong around the rim. She finished with 17 points, leading the Grandview attack, but even then Moore felt his team should have found more ways to get the dynamic senior the ball.
“We’ve got to do a better job of looking to her,” said Moore. “She did a great job in the second half of finishing.”
Chrisman roared back with a run of its own to conclude the third quarter, getting to the rim easily as Grandview dealt with foul trouble. By the time the fourth quarter began, the Lady Bulldogs held just a 40-39 lead.
The fourth quarter saw more back and forth, but Grandview went down by a basket early and struggled to hang with Chrisman the rest of the way. At one point the Lady Bulldogs missed three
consecutive free throw attempts, two of which were the front end of one-and-one opportunities. Meanwhile, Chrisman remained steady, finishing with 16 points in the quarter. Moore preached effort after the contest, saying that his team needed to bring the defensive energy more consistently if they hope to continue their early-season winning trend.
“On the defensive end, we struggled there in the second half,” said Moore. “We just didn’t execute down the stretch. Our conditioning is where it needs to be, we’ve just got to come out here and put that effort on the floor.”
Even with the defensive issues, the Lady Bulldogs nearly made up a 51-47 deficit in the final 1:30 of regulation. After a Grandview steal, Reynolds swished a three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs within one. Chrisman charged down and answered with a bucket, and then a critical Grandview turnover on the subsequent possession allowed the Bears to open up a 55-50 lead with 22 seconds left.
Reynolds, who finished with 11 points, still wasn’t ready to concede defeat. She rushed the ball down the court again and swished her third three-pointer of the game, this time from several feet beyond the arc. With less than ten seconds to play, the Bulldogs were in striking distance, at 55-53. Grandview immediately fouled after the inbounds pass, and Chrisman missed the ensuing free throw to keep the final outcome in doubt. But as time wound down, the Bulldogs raced down the court without the benefit of a timeout. Senior Drea Lesure could only get off a running three-point attempt at the buzzer, and when the shot careened off the backboard, the game was over. Grandview’s winning streak had been snapped at nine games, and the Lady Bulldogs would not be winning their second consecutive tournament trophy.
But Moore said that despite the loss, there would be much to learn from the contest.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and come out here tomorrow ready to play a basketball game,” said Moore.
The Bulldogs appeared to learn something from the tight loss. Grandview finished the tournament on Saturday with a match-up against St. Teresa’s. In that game, Grandview raced out to a 22-5 first quarter lead and never allowed a significant run in pulling out a 61-31 win. The Lady Bulldogs moved to 9-1 with the victory.