Two recent moves in Independence are signs of progress and hope. They come in different forms but are welcome news.
Start with the new thing. Two hundred and forty apartments, plus shops, are planned for the area near Children’s Mercy East. The developer promises lots of amenities and says it’s open to having trails. That’s a good idea, and so is connecting with the nearby Little Blue Trace Trail. More miles of trails to walk and bike amount to an upgrade in the community’s standard of living.
The southeast corner of the city is not just a retail hub. It’s become the site of a considerable degree of new housing. That’s good for the community.
The other project is considerably more ambitious. The city and the state plan significant improvements to U.S. 24, from Missouri 291 west to Fairmount. It starts in 2021 and will take a couple years. The highway goes from four lanes to five and gets intersection improvements. The Missouri Department of Transportation says the accident rate in places is high, so those safety improvements are important.
Another part of the work also is welcome – curbs and gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes. Those things will make the whole corridor more vibrant, more conducive to healthy neighborhoods. And it should help upgrade the appearance of the highway. That’s a needed step.