Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776. Declaration for Independence, announced Feb. 24, 2010.

Declaration of Independence, signed July 4, 1776. Declaration for Independence, announced Feb. 24, 2010.

Independence Mayor Don Reimal unveiled the city-led initiative as “a one-stop shop for everyone who cares about Independence” Tuesday afternoon during the 2010 State of the City Address.

Located at declareforindep.com, Declaration for Independence encourages residents to provide testimony of their civic, faith-based and community involvement, as well as find new volunteer opportunities and ways to invest in local businesses.

“Whether or not you realize it, everyone of you in this room is already declaring for Independence,” Reimal told audience members in the sold-out Independence Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon. “It is time to find a way to bring shape to the substance of the selfless acts of compassion and volunteerism that happen every day in Independence. Those efforts, by individuals, families and organizations, all help to make Independence a great place to live, work and raise your family.” 

Reimal, who serves on Missouri’s statewide Complete Count Committee for the 2010 U.S. Census, said residents can declare for Independence in completing this year’s 10-question census form.

“This sounds like such an easy thing to do,” Reimal said, “but it is so important for the state of Missouri. Please take it seriously.”

Earlier this week, City Manager Robert Heacock said the successes of the Declaration for Independence campaign will be honored with an ice-cream social on the Independence Square prior to the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show.

Reimal also praised the Independence Events Center, a facility he refers to as “a memory maker.”

He emphasized the importance of the center offering free parking at all of its events.

“Let’s not underestimate the importance of affordability, especially during these trying times,” Reimal said. “Many Independence families are struggling today. It might be the threat of home foreclosure, unemployment or just an uncertain future. Our hearts go out especially to those in need.”

Reimal, 68, is an Independence native who will run unopposed for a second term as Independence mayor in April’s election.

Despite the economic recession felt nationwide during the last year, Reimal said Independence continues to promote the growth of local business with the Enhanced Enterprise Zone in western Independence and the rehabilitation of the former Independence Regional Health Center into a business incubator for entrepreneurs.

“It is true that the business climate, especially for new investment, is in tough shape right now,” Reimal said. “But when the economy rebounds, Independence will be a great place to do business. Progress continues on major street projects in eastern Independence, which includes areas ripe for development.”

Utilizing sales tax funds from the 39th Street Transportation Development District, construction of a four-lane section of 39th Street is mostly completed, Reimal said.

He said construction continues on the extension of Jackson Drive to Missouri 78, and the Little Blue Parkway will reach U.S. 24 by mid-2011.

“That is going to open up a lot of area for development,” Reimal said, “not only commercial but also residential.”