The Blue Springs Gateway Memorial project has broken ground and is just awaiting warmer weather to complete, according to Downtown Alive! Executive Director Pam Buck, who said those involved hope to see the project completed sometime this summer.

Buck said she hopes the gateway at Main Street and Missouri 7, which she said will be visible from a distance, will attract others to the downtown area and generate more foot traffic in an area craving it.

“A lot of the people that live here work in Kansas City and don’t even know where downtown is or what downtown is,” she said.

Buck said downtown Blue Springs is where the city’s unique history can be found, and is potentially one of the best draws the city has for tourism.

“Everybody has a strip mall in their town, everybody has a McDonald’s. When you bring someone to your town, they want to see what’s unique,” she said.

Buck said the gateway is funded privately, and there is already enough to ensure it’s completion. If further funding is made available, there is the potential for another one to be erected on Main Street at the other end of downtown.

“We think once that’s up and people see how cool it is, they’ll help us build another one on 15,” she said.

The project is part of what Buck described as a “four-point approach” by Downtown Alive! comprised of organization, design, promotion and economic vitality – making sure there are retail businesses downtown and helping them to stay there.

The group’s expanded shop-local approach is made up entirely of volunteers, apart from Buck, who is the organization’s only paid employee. Volunteer Dacia Rzchowski, who assists with clerical duties as well as promotional and organizational aspects, said there are around 10 regular volunteers. Both agreed there is room for more to find ways to share their talents.

Upcoming events coordinated and run by Downtown Alive! include the upcoming Picadilly Gala, which features the “Back to Woodstock” theme this year, as well as the “World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” next weekend.