The bus stop at Blue Ridge Crossing, a busy commercial district at the Independence-Kansas City border that also has been a crime hot spot, now has a 24-hour video surveillance.
In addition, two Jackson County sheriff deputies have been assigned to the location to respond to calls originating from the bus stop on the far end of the Wal-Mart parking lot, which sits right on the border.
Such measures came after some Independence city leaders met with local law enforcement agencies and the Kansas City Area Transit Authority to review the transit center at Interstate 70, U.S. 40, and Blue Ridge Boulevard.
Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said that as a nearby resident, the Blue Ridge Crossing area is a regular part of conversations with neighbors and citizens.
“Blue Ridge Crossing and businesses located there have a significant economic impact on both Kansas City and Independence,” Weir said in a release, “and taking steps to ensure patrons, shop owners and visitors feel safe is important.”
“We worked closely with law enforcement and local leaders to create mutually beneficial steps to address to long-standing community concerns,” added District 4 Council Member Tom Van Camp.
The combination of major roadways and commercial areas brings heavy traffic many times, not to mention to popular bus stop and the commuter nearby parking lot.
The Wal-Mart was built about a decade ago after the Blue Ridge Mall was demolished, and it has a Kansas City address, as do IHOP and Applebee's. On the east side of the area, McDonald's, Starbucks and Wingstop have Independence addresses but the older building that houses Blue Ridge Bank and Silverstein Eye Center has a Kansas City address.
Independence Chief of Police Brad Halsey said the area has been the source of many police calls for several years. The recent measures, which also include two Kansas City officers concentrated in the area, should also have a positive effect.
“That's been an area of concern since it became that,” Halsey said of the last decade. “With (additional officers), we think that will help.”
PRESERVATION AWARDS: The city of Independence handed out its annual Preserve Independence Awards (formerly Historic Preservation) at Monday's City Council meeting.
Awards for distinguished service went to Dorothy Francis and Rory and Jill Ritchie. Francis has volunteered for years at the Bingham-Waggoner Estate and helped with the Chicago & Alton Depot restoration. The Ritchies have been longtime volunteers at the Vaile Mansion and recently cleaned out the Vaile basemen and cataloged a plethora of items that had been stored there.