Everything from the successful creation of a new downtown in Gladstone to a lifestyle center under construction in Liberty and one of Kansas City’s largest developments ever were highlights of the 2016 Clay County State of the Cities Luncheon March 17.
North Kansas City might have brought some of the most unusual announcements, including a number of adaptive redevelopments of the city’s many older industrial structures. City Manager Eric Berlin noted RoKC is scheduled to open one of the area’s first climbing gyms in April. Even more visible will be initial construction for the Armour Road Redevelopment Project, a 60-acre effort along I-35/I-29 that will include a new Meierotto’s Jewelers headquarters.
Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner may have been challenged to fit all of that city’s projects into his allotted time. Highlights included a $9.8 million expansion to Hunt Midwest Business Center, near completion of the Antioch Crossing development, launching of the Metro North redevelopment and a new retail area featuring a Costco at Highway 152 and Platte Purchase Drive. The largest project in the entire region is Kansas City’s mammoth Twin Creeks project, which will eventually be the size of approximately three Gladstones!
Gladstone’s own story may have regional significance. Mayor Bill Garnos said that community is celebrating creation of its “new” downtown that recently opened several new projects, including the award-winning Heights of Linden Square apartments and the Northland Innovation Center.
Liberty Mayor Lyndell Brenton cited the $80 million Liberty Commons. Historic Downtown Liberty is about to undergo a $5 million streetscape effort that will allow for a more pedestrian friendly environment in the already popular area. The $23 million completion of South Liberty Parkway will complete the tie between I-35 and Highway 291, with opening in late 2017.
Even the area’s smaller communities reported dramatic growth. Smithville and Kearney humorously vied as two of Greater Kansas City’s fastest growing communities. Excelsior Springs touted major improvements to Route 10 that feature extensive landscaping, while Pleasant Valley and Lawson struck a theme of “doing a lot with a little.”
“We’re the community with a $3 million budget and a $42 million interchange,” Pleasant Valley’s David Slater said, noting the mammoth I-35-Pleasant Valley Road project funded largely by the Missouri Department of Transportation. “It happens because of partnerships.”
“We’re seeing a great deal of high quality growth,” EDC Chair Sam Lodhi concluded. “These are all very exciting projects that improve our communities and make Clay County the great area it is.”