When my husband is driving, I have more time to look outside the window and see the countryside as we travel around the Kansas City area. It is always sad to me to see a new housing division go in, the ground being torn up as the bulldozers push down trees and scrape the earth.

When my husband is driving, I have more time to look outside the window and see the countryside as we travel around the Kansas City area. It is always sad to me to see a new housing division go in, the ground being torn up as the bulldozers push down trees and scrape the earth.

Sure, I know they call it “progress” and measure the state of economy by the number of new houses being built, something else I have never understood. I always think of the wildlife. Where will they go? The hawks sitting solitary on the telephone poles searching for rodents near the highways, the occasional glimpse of a fox, raccoon or even the opossum, the turtles and snakes – where will they go?

I ask my husband as I stare out the window, “Where will they go, just where will they all go?”

He does not need to ask who, or where. He knows of whom I am speaking. It is my lamentation every time we pass “progress.”

I have been living in Eastern Jackson County for about 25 years now, and when I think about all of the lost green spaces I have seen in that time, it is chilling and frightening. When I first started driving east on Interstate 70, there were only a few houses east of Lee’s Summit Road (not even the Cracker Barrel or Home Depot were there). Beautiful countryside and limestone bluffs gave way to the whole Bass Pro complex. I remember driving east of 291 when the only thing lighting the night sky was the church on the hill, its steeple a beacon in the dark. Now it is lost in buzz of the endless restaurant city below.

Stores continue to strip across that landscape, as do more and more restaurants. How many do we really need in one place, anyway? When they began to scourge the area, I made a promise to myself – I would boycott those restaurants. It has been a long time, and I have only been to one of those restaurants one time, to attend a birthday party for a friend.

Growth has continued through the Blue Springs area, especially the Adams Dairy Parkway stores, toward Grain Valley, and even past Oak Grove and Odessa. And, that is just along the I-70 corridor. Travel south down M-291 to Lee’s Summit and you are looking at probably half-again as much “progress.”

I do not know if you have been driving north near the Centerpoint Medical Center, but you should just take a drive out in that direction. See where your tax dollars are going. Two long four-lane boulevards have recently been built on each side of the medical center complete with fancy, heavy-duty traffic lights and separate turn lanes – all of this for about 10 cars every 10 minutes. These four-lane boulevards, South Jackson Drive (which ends at Missouri 78) and Little Blue Parkway from 39th Street all the way north to Bundschu Road have traffic lights that stop and start traffic for nearly imaginary traffic. Now, why would we need these big, expansive four-lane boulevards, especially so close to each other and to Missouri 291 and Missouri 7  all headed north? Now, that is what I call “progress.”