Grain Valley Mayor Mike Todd sees growth and progress in the years ahead.
“As we continue to position our town for tremendous growth and prosperity, we focus on maintaining our close-knit hometown feel that initially brought us all here,” the mayor said Monday during the state of the city address, delivered at the Grain Valley Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon.
Todd highlighted several areas of progress in 2013 and this year. Chief among them is the state of Missouri upgrade to the city’s Interstate 70 interchange.
“Our No. 1 goal for the past eight years was to improve the I-70 interchange project, which was completed,” he said.
The project has included upgrades to Main Street around I-70, and more work is on the way. The Missouri Department of Transportation next spring plans to begin work on Main from Walnut south through downtown to Eagles Parkway – three lanes, with a center turn lane.
“And, just as important is the fact that this additional roadwork, valued at about $3 million, comes at no additional cost to the city,” Todd said, noting that MoDOT is using funds left over from the I-70 project.
The mayor also outlined other areas of progress:
• New businesses such as McDonald’s, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Advance Auto Parts and O’Reilly Auto Parts. The mayor showed a video about MAG Trucks, which has brought more than 25 jobs to the city. The company chiefly refits delivery trucks. Companies on the way: Valley Broasters (chicken) and Cheezteak Company.
• The city’s issuance of business and liquor permits was up 12 percent in 2013, compared with 2012.
• City sales taxes rose 3.3 percent in 2013. Also, the city was able to reduce its debt by 11.3 percent by paying off a 2004 bond issue. Standard & Poor’s raised the city’s credit rating to AA-.
• The city bought the property at 601 Main St. and plans a detention basin to control flooding. Also, there have been upgrades to the Sni-a-Bar wastewater plant, and the city continues to add capacity as it expects growth – something to bear in mind, Todd said, as city works through sewer-and-water rates increases.
The third of three increases is set for this year. The mayor said the city will look at raising or lowering those rates as needed but stressed that “we have had to position ourselves for future growth and have ample service capacity as we grow.”
• Strong public turnout for meetings on the city’s comprehensive master plan.
“It will help guide and give us the framework for moving Grain Valley forward one step at a time,” he said.
• Good efforts by the Chamber of Commerce, and the mayor mentioned that this year’s “trail or treat” event is set for Oct. 24.
Also, city officials planned to meet Monday afternoon with Dennis Shrout, owner of Valley Speedway. Shrout will need a new city permit to operate the racetrack starting next spring. The Board of Aldermen voted last month to revoke his permit over noise and other long-running issues but is allowing the speedway to finish its current season in late September. Aldermen are to discuss the issue next Monday.