Amid financial straits many municipalities find themselves in, Independence Mayor Don Reimal holds firm the belief that the city is still a great place to run a business, raise a family and become a destination for tourists from all over the world.

Amid financial straits many municipalities find themselves in, Independence Mayor Don Reimal holds firm the belief that the city is still a great place to run a business, raise a family and become a destination for tourists from all over the world.

In his state of the city address Wednesday at the Independence Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon at Ophelia’s Restaurant, Reimal told a packed crowd that despite the economic climate Independence is still a good place to do business, live, work and play.

“Let there be no mistake,” Reimal said, “the future is bright. Independence today offers more livable and walkable neighborhoods, city parks (and) smooth streets than any other community around us.”

Reimal shared with the audience successful projects the city has embarked on in the last year, including business programs that encourage new business opportunities and commercial reinvestment, the development of a business incubator, a micro-loan program for small businesses and a proposed business park in eastern Independence.

“These accomplishments are a result of cooperation, compassion, creativity and plain old hard work,” Reimal said.

Reimal also addressed the progress of several road infrastructure improvement projects in the city, the on-going construction of the 5,800-seat Independence Events Center, a tax abatement program under way in the western part of town, an award-winning neighborhood code compliance program and a recently announced foreclosure and neglected property program to help stabilize property values in neighborhoods affected by foreclosures.

“We are going to hurt financially,” Reimal said, “but I think you can see we are far better off financially than a lot of other communities. ”