Proactive, active or reactive?

Lee's Summit JournalOctober 2, 2013 

So what kind of city governance, economic development and future planning do we practice here in Lee’s Summit?

Are we constantly catching up, falling behind, ahead of it or forward thinking?

I’d argue we are a little of all of the above.

I would also submit we need to do better at several “things” around town where business and bigger thinking for our community are involved.

When I hear stories of potential businesses not giving Lee’s Summit a second look due to what they see at our city council meetings and small business owners jumping through an inordinate amount of hoops just to open a small place in downtown Lee’s Summit, certainly, those examples are highly aggravating.

And many more of us should be calling for change from the very top when it comes to doing business in Lee’s Summit.

Many years ago, the Citizens Against Virtually Everything (and their counterparts on city council) would have killed Summit Woods Crossing if they had a chance. More recently, it would have been Summit Fair, although that project was objected more due to the large TIF amountthan anything else.

Still, those retail locals do not have a “cool” factor that we desperately need in Lee’s Summit.

Downtown, by contrast, does have that “cool” piece to it during big events, concerts and many of the outdoor activities that are planned throughout the year.

But how do we keep that momentum going year-round? And how do we better serve our retailers and shops in downtown Lee’s Summit?

More housing? More restaurants? More density?

Yes, yes and yes.

Park Place told us recently how “cool” our downtown scene was and will likely want to work with city and elected officials to bring some high-end multi-unit housing down by city hall.

So, will we be ahead of that game or chasing behind it?

Or will we exhibit, again, some of the behavior at the council and city hall level that turns off business people and makes others think twice about opening up here?

I’ve said it before and it is still true: we’ve gotten to where we are in Lee’s Summit due to some bold decisions and definitive leadership from the past few decades.

Where we are headed – downtown, 50/291, 470 gateways and other areas – will be up to those that we continue to elect and demand to see placed in leadership positions at city hall.

We better choose wisely.

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John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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