Blue Springs state of city

By Mike Genet mike.genet@examiner.net
The Examiner

Despite all the challenges wrought by the pandemic over the past year, Carson Ross says the city of Blue Springs is still going strong.

The city still witnessed continued strides in several areas in 2020 and is poised to continue progress in 2021, the Blue Springs mayor said Thursday during his annual state of the city address at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Carson Ross

“We kept on going despite the challenges,” Ross said. “We made it through one of the toughest years we’ve been through.”

“I’m proud we were able to work together as a community to adapt and overcome,” Ross said. “We will soon see some light at the end of the tunnel and regain some normalcy.”

Public health orders didn’t make things easy, Ross said, but he pointed to city leadership for allowing curbside alcohol sales and expanded premises to help business, and allocated federal funds to help citizens through a Community Services League partnership.

Ross gave a nod to the merger of Prairie Township and Lotawana fire protection districts, which should help residents on the south edge of Blue Springs and noted the upcoming April ballot issues for the Central Jackson Fire Protection District and the Blue Springs parks tax renewal.

Parks improvements under the program funded by the current sales tax continued as scheduled through the pandemic, and the half-cent sales tax expires next year, but “there’s still much to do,” Ross said about parks improvements.

The mayor noted that about 1.8 million square feet of business development and reconstruction took place in Blue Springs in 2020 – about $81 million worth of investment – and more than 250 single-family homes and 150 units worth of multi-family buildings were constructed in 2020, with 1,400 active building permits in the works.

In 2021, the Blue Springs Logistics industrial site will be constructed, and Ross noted that plans are in the works for the former Haldex site on the east edge of the city. The city also started working with a contractor on possible plans to redevelop the city-owned lumberyard site downtown, which a few years ago held some city offices and functions while the Howard Brown Public Safety Building was constructed.

The city’s police department suspended in-person training and community outreach programs during the pandemic but plans to resume them this year, Ross said, and it also started employing body cameras with officers.

The mayor also pointed to a completed project to widen a portion of Roanoke Drive for growing northeast neighborhoods, and the city and Missouri Department of Transportation finally implemented a stoplight at Missouri 7 and South Avenue north of U.S. 40. In 2021, the city plans to partner again with MoDOT for sidewalk reconstruction along a portion of M-7.