Thursday, March 19, 2015

Grandview Pulls Breed-specific Ban on Pit Bulls



Geoff Hall, President of Wayside Waifs, celebrates Grandview’s decision to repeal the breed-specific ban with a pit bull puppy available for adoption. Effective immediately, Wayside Waifs is now able to adopt pit bulls to those living in the Grandview city limits. Visit www.waysidewaifs.org to see all of the animals looking for homes.

 

By Mary Wilson


After several months of discussion and education, the Grandview Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the repeal of the breed-specific ban on pit bulls in city limits. The ban was adopted by the aldermen on July 26, 2005, at a time when the city was dealing with pit bull dogs being bred and trained to participate in dog fighting, with the fights occurring out in the open within city limits. Due to the inherent aggressive behavior of the animals, the breed-specific ban was put in place.

When the ban was enacted, pit bulls living within city limits were required to be registered as dangerous animals and owners were to pay for an annual permit, inspection, insurance policy, specific housing arrangements and follow restrictions when kept or brought outside. At the time, approximately twenty pit bulls were registered that were known to be living in the city.

“After comparing Grandview with what surrounding cities around us have done, we’ve been able to fix the holes when it comes to dangerous animals in general, to where all citizens are protected as well as the animals,” said Ward 3 Alderman John Maloney. “We are looking to our neighbors to see their best practices.”

Community Development Director Chris Chiodini and his staff looked at neighboring Missouri communities, and found that some cities continue to have the breed-specific ban in place. Grandview chose to pull the ban, and in order for an animal to be deemed dangerous, the actions of the animal would have to be determined to be a threat to the community as a whole.

“It’s the actions of the animal only, and has nothing to do with the breed of the animal itself,” said Chiodini. “We had to tighten up the ordinance and make sure that in doing so, we continue to protect not just people, but the animals themselves.”

The ordinance approved last week removes any breed-specific legislation, and made necessary changes so that the information on the requirements for animals of any breed or kind deemed dangerous is easy to read.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Aldermen Approve Truman’s Marketplace TIF Plan

RED Legacy Aims for April 3 Groundbreaking

By Mary Wilson


On Tuesday, March 3, the Grandview Board of Aldermen gave the final approval on the second amended and restated Truman’s Marketplace Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Redevelopment Plan. A week earlier, the final public hearing for the TIF plan was heard, and the aldermen moved to postpone the final vote until their next meeting, in order to comply with giving a ten days’ notice.

As previously reported, the major component of the redevelopment effort has changed from a reconstruction to primarily a remodel of existing structures. Managing Partner of RED Legacy, Bart Lowen, presented the aldermen with elevation visuals as well as an explanation of what RED will be remodeling and how it will look when completed.

“One question we wanted to address is where we’re at with our tenants,” said Lowen. “Time kills deals, and that is the case in some cases, but we’re happy to tell you that, through this entire effort, of the approximately eighty-percent of the tenants that we had in lease in the former plan, all but one is moving forward with us. So, roughly seventy-five percent of the tenants in this project are still there today.”

Lowen added that his team has been working with those tenants to incorporate their businesses into the new site plan. RED will work with them to amend the signed leases to provide for the changes to the shopping center. Some were shifted or moved to accommodate the remodel effort.

“Burlington, for instance, is now on the south end of the site,” said Lowen. “We had to move them into an existing location.”

Of those seventy-five percent of tenants, Lowen said half of them have signed amended leases. One major tenant RED is still working with to sign an amended lease is Price Chopper, yet Lowen was confident that the grocer remains committed to the project. When the lease with Price Chopper is executed, RED will be well into the sixty-percent leased capacity range on the project for tenants.

Security has been an issue that’s remained prevalent in the plans for the shopping center, and Lowen stated that a good security program remains intact with the amended plan. There will be security cameras on the buildings as well as in parking areas. There will also be a patrolling effort during business hours. Along with the security efforts, shoppers will see new parking lots, upgraded landscaping, and a new street that will run through the project with lighting and upgraded facades.

“It just creates an atmosphere that is a little bit more of an uplifting atmosphere that really helps to add to the security effort of the project,” said Lowen.

The elevation and look of the project has remained fairly constant, even with the changes from redevelopment to remodel. RED has made some tweaks and changes to the look of some buildings to accommodate the remodel effort, but the walkable environment the aldermen were looking for in the beginning has remained the focus.

“All the buildings remain; it’s just a façade renovation,” said Lowen. “This project right now is very flat, and we’ll start to create and add some character into the plan. We’ll be applying quite a bit of materials to the existing walls in order to create the façade upgrade the project will receive. This clearly is well more than a can of paint.”

Moving forward, RED will wait for the Grandview Board of Aldermen to approve the Paramaters Bond Ordinance and Bond Documents on March 24, and will then move forward with the purchase of the shopping center two days later on March 26. RED is prepared for a groundbreaking event to occur on Friday, April 3, provided everything in the next month goes smoothly.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Grandview Lowers Graduation Credit Requirement

by Mary Wilson


The Grandview School Board, at their meeting on Thursday, February 19, voted to approve a new graduation credit requirement. In 2001, the board approved raising the Grandview standard from 26 credits to 28.

“We are doing this in part of a review of all district areas to create better efficiency and look at things that have a financial impact on the district,” said Superintendent Dr. Ralph Teran. “Our current configuration, approved in 2001, was to go to the eight-block schedule and correspondingly increase the credits required to graduate.”

According to Teran, the eight-block schedule seemed to hit strides nationally in the 1990s. He added that block scheduling or a regular seven-period daily schedule seems to show no impact on student achievement.

“The block schedule costs more money,” said Teran. “It is more expensive to run the schedule that we have, and since there appears to be no correlation with student achievement. Sometimes more expensive things may be worth it, and I’m not saying it’s wrong to have block scheduling. It is a value judgment.”

Teran stated that the 28 credit requirement binds the school district to the block schedule, and if any other option is considered the requirement needs to be lowered. Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Kenny Rodrequez provided the board with a snapshot of what other districts require for graduation credits, and whether or not they have block scheduling.

“As far as we’ve been able to find in our area, we are one of three districts in our area that require 28 credits,” said Rodrequez. “The other two are Grain Valley and Park Hill. Other than that, most other districts hover around 25 or 26.”

Rodrequez added that the move from 28 to 26 credit hours required could open the opportunity for students to take additional dual-credit courses, as well as provide an opportunity to ensure that more students graduate on time.

“This could provide more opportunities for remediation that maybe the 28 doesn’t provide us with,” said Rodrequez.

Lowering the credit requirement will reduce the amount of electives students are able to take over their high school career, and according to Rodrequez, will not reduce the rigor.

“We have, in my opinion, one of the most rigorous requirements in the area,” said Rodrequez. “We require four credits of math, which is an anomaly in most of the surrounding areas. There are very, very few districts that require that.”

Grandview students are specifically required to pass through Algebra II in order to graduate, and are also required to take chemistry. Rodrequez said the rigor will come from the courses required, not from the amount of credits the students take.

He added that Grandview will soon be able to support an online-learning requirement, where at least one course would have to be taken in a virtual environment. This would be implemented over a period of time, and would be separate from the required credits and separate from the daily courses.

Ultimately, the board approved unanimously to approve lowering the graduation credit requirements from 28 to 26, beginning with the class of 2016.