No matter how many times a reporter writes about a particular subject, sometimes it just takes one more time before it really sticks with readers.

No matter how many times a reporter writes about a particular subject, sometimes it just takes one more time before it really sticks with readers.

That was the case last week with my reporting on the Midwest Public Risk headquarters taking shape south of Interstate 70 and north of Adair Creek. I’d written about it multiple times, but one more time, in some cases, doesn’t hurt.

More clarification is needed on what Midwest Public Risk is and its purpose. The nonprofit self-insurance pool serves the whole state of Kansas and Missouri, not just the Kansas City area.

The employee training center will serve as a member-training facility to train employees and members in safety, liability and wellness “to try to minimize expenses and exposures for the members,” according to Jason McMahon, a risk management adviser with Midwest Public Risk.

The facility has a projected completion date of mid-November, McMahon said.



What is the fiber optic line project taking place in Independence?

Independence resident Robert Prout recently contacted me regarding a fiber optic line project taking place in Independence. The project will not directly affect residential technology usage. Instead, 14 Independence Power & Light substations and 33 Independence School District schools will be connected through the project. According to the city, the $4.2 million project is projected to save $1.2 million in communication expenses throughout a 10-year period.

Potential future fiber customers could include colleges, hospitals, medical facilities, data centers, banks, investment agencies, insurance companies and libraries.

Again, this column is designed for residents’ questions like Prout’s. I welcome questions about infrastructure projects and other city-related matters – you know where to find me.



Palmer Senior Center seeks accreditation

A significant meeting will take at the Palmer Senior Center this week. As the center prepares for its application for accreditation through the National Institute of Senior Centers, a constituent unit of the National Council on Aging, the public is invited to attend an estimated one-hour meeting at 10 a.m. Friday in the center’s dining hall, 218A N. Pleasant St.

The Parks and Recreation Department has contracted with Roberta Coker to facilitate the application, which could take nine to 12 months, according to Eric Urfer, director of Parks and Recreation. Coker is the former director of community relations for the Independence School District and is a civic volunteer.

According to Urfer, the benefits of accreditation include validating the functions the center provides; expanding opportunities for grants and other funding sources; recognizing seniors as vital citizens to Independence; and continuing to ensure the center’s service and programming.

Contact Coker at 816-935-3644 for more information prior to Friday’s meeting.



City manager discusses upcoming business park

The announcement might be just a week old, but city officials are eagerly discussing the development of a 363-acre business park in eastern Independence.

At the close of Monday night’s Independence City Council meeting, City Manager Robert Heacock spoke of the public-private partnership project that involves the city; the Community of Christ as the land owner; the Independence Economic Development; and project developer Clayco Inc.

About 90 percent of the land is within the Fort Osage School District with the remaining portion in the Independence School District.

“People may look at that and say, ‘What’s it all about?’” Heacock said, adding that the city is identifying and is focusing on vacant commercial properties across Independence.

“This is a different type of situation. These are employment opportunities, and that’s really what we are focusing on. It’s not a commercial venture; these are employment-generating areas.”

Throughout its partnership with the Kansas City Area Development Council, the city actively knows what projects are looking at the Kansas City region, “but we’ve not had the available land that is suitable for that development,” Heacock said, adding that the business park’s proximity to Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, rail lines and Interstate 70 will add to its viability. “It’s going to be a great spot for companies to locate and with that comes more jobs and increased investment in our community.

“We’re not out there to see immediate results. It’s going to take time, but now we have something that we can pitch and proudly market for the city of Independence.”