Most cities have things it can “hang its hat on.”
There’s a town in Iowa that boasts the widest Main Street in the country; another is home to the Eskimo Pie.
Some towns closer to Lee’s Summit have Harry S. Truman, or a (sort of) famous musician attached to its collective hip.
In Lee’s Summit, we have no shortage of history – including some some villains and heroes – and a few renowned performers we can claim, the most recognizable being Grammy-winning jazz legend Pat Metheny.
We’re not lost, for sure.
But we’re not home of the largest ball of twine, either.
What we do have is sometimes so obvious, right smack dab in front of us, that we almost miss it – a tremendous quality of life, world class parks and schools, the highest income in Jackson County and exceedingly low crime.
For all intents and purposes, all of the elements of a great community can be found here.
But, this is Lee’s Summit, and we’re supposed to be better.
We’re creative. We’re entrepreneurial. And we like to show off both of those aspects.
April 2’s bond vote gives us an opportunity to raise our own bar.
We’re great, sure. It’s about time we decided to be a little greater.
I have to admit something intangible like “cultural arts” did not stay indefinable to me for long once I was exposed to it.
Children define the arts by drawing on a downtown Lee’s Summit sidewalk with some chalk. Teenagers define it during a flute or guitar lesson. Adults define it during a Lee’s Summit Symphony show.
And our city leaders help define it, too, but exposing the community as a whole to just what is great about being creative.
Public art is hanging, right now, as you read this, in hospitals, community centers, coffee shops and restaurants. Writers are piecing together the next play. Musicians are planning their outdoor shows for the summer.
And they’re all doing it right here in Lee’s Summit.
Just because cultural arts may be challenging to define doesn’t mean we shouldn’t identify what about the arts are good for this city and help foster those movements along the way.
The upcoming vote shouldn’t be about what is or is not a priority in Lee’s Summit. We have new streets, sidewalks, fire stations, police gear, parks and amenities all around us.
It’s about making a commitment to see the bigger picture for Lee’s Summit.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.