Plans for a spiffier Noland Road – a better place to do business, that is – are coming along.

Gerry Winship, executive director of the Noland Road Community Improvement District, is focused on the triangular green space on the west side of Noland at Fair Street, just south of 23rd Street.

The plan is to carve out space on southbound Noland there for buses to pull over and make their stops. That’s one of the busiest spots in the city, and a pull-off for buses would ease traffic flow a bit. Also, bus riders would have a space to sit for a minute with some protection from wind, rain, snow and sun.

“We want a shelter,” Winship said.

That would be welcome, too. In my view, bus riders in Eastern Jackson County could stand to benefit from shelters in any number of stops, but I can’t think of where there’s even one. This should be a higher community priority.

Winship also wants to leave three of the larger trees in that green triangle but otherwise start over, with new bushes.

“We’re going to beautify this whole area,” he said, adding that he hopes to have all this work done by late fall.

His group is working with the city, which plans to install new signals and do some lane realignment at Noland and Fair. That could happen yet this year.

This is all part of an effort to improve key intersections on Noland from Truman Road south to U.S. 40. The CID is funded with through a three-quarter-cent sales tax that Noland Road businesses collect.

Coming in 2019: A wider sidewalk on the Noland Road bridge over Interstate 70, a better look for that bridge, and a clean-up of the thick vegetation at a couple corners there.

“We want to make Noland Road again the entrance to Independence,” Winship said.

A healthier Noland would create benefits elsewhere, too.

“We hope to do things here that help to bring business to the Square,” Winship said.

Growth ahead?

Missouri’s economy keeps moving steadily ahead, as measured by one monthly snapshot of the Midwest economy.

The Creighton Economic Forecasting Group puts Missouri’s business conditions index at 56.5 in August, up ever so slightly from 56.4 in July and high enough to strongly suggest growth in the months ahead. Creighton surveys corporate purchasing managers across nine states and rates those states zero to 100, with anything above 50 being positive territory. Figures for August were released Tuesday.

Creighton says Missouri’s makers of durable goods – cars, dishwashers, etc. – have expanded employment by 3.1 percent in the last year, though jobs are down 1 percent among makers of non-durable goods.

Creighton sees overall growth ahead for the nine states – Minnesota and the Dakotas south to Arkansas and Oklahoma – but also notes a couple yellow lights. One is steadily rising interest rates. The other is trade. About half of the purchasing managers said they’re already seeing tariffs and other restrictions cut into buying by customers overseas.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Follow him on Twitter at @FoxEJC.