A group called Blue Springs SPIRIT – “Site Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together” – spoke to the Blue Springs City Council Monday night, focusing on five key issues: image management, youth, diversity, mental health and homelessness.

The citizen group gave its recommendations on how to serve and better the community. It introduced a goal of communicating with diverse populations, including the homeless, substance abusing, ethnically diverse, financially challenged and elderly. Due to the many organizations currently serving the community, which members expressed some people might not be aware of, the group recommended that the council create a central website to list resources.

SPIRIT also called for the council to limit the growth of “predatory businesses,” which it defined as pawn shops, massage parlors, tattoo shops, payday loan stores, liquor stores, tobacco sellers and stores that sell sexually explicit material.

Councilman Dale Carter called for the group to distinguish between massage parlors and licensed massage therapists, a distinction members had not made at the time of their presentation.

Lastly, members advocated for a Blue Springs life skills center, which would offer mental health resources and other benefits.

Council member Susan Culpepper noted the effort and collaboration that went into SPIRIT’s recommendations.

“I was amazed and impressed by how many people were at their first meeting,” Culpepper said. “The place was packed.”