With a newly created “Development Center,” we are rolling out the red carpet to help entrepreneurs successfully “open for business” in Lee’s Summit – a welcoming community with vision and energy.
The Development Center is considered a one-stop-shop to help up-and-coming and established entrepreneurs navigate the business and development processes from the initial application to opening the doors for business.
Understanding the need for the Development Center concept in Lee’s Summit requires a look back at how business development has changed in our community.
During the 1980s, 90s and early 2000, new business and development ventures flocked to Lee’s Summit as with other communities. Greenfields ripe for new development brought developers to our City daily to construct new homes and commercial buildings, or to utilize an existing tenant space. Processes and systems were in place at the City to handle the large influx of activity associated with this economic development boom.
However, this all changed with the economic downturn that began in 2007. Throughout the next several years, the global economy was struggling. Lee’s Summit was no different.
Emerging from this slowed economy would require more progressive and innovative ways to attract and retain businesses within the community. Building a stronger economic development strategy in Lee’s Summit, at the same time, was ever present among the City, its partners and within the community.
In 2009, the City’s strategic plan was updated and Economic Development was an area of focus. Within the citizen-led Lee’s Summit 360° - Charting Tomorrow strategic plan is a key performance area with an eye toward economic development. The vision statement for the Economic Development KPA is as follows:
“Lee’s Summit is a progressive destination city with a fiscally balanced tax base and a strong sense of community, which attracts and retains investment by aggressively pursuing development and redevelopment strategies through public and private partnerships.”
To help make this economic development vision a reality, the City teamed with the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce in 2011 to commission an audit of our development processes and how we can work better with small businesses. Through this audit the City learned of the challenges experienced by those unfamiliar with the process. Those starting or operating an existing business in Lee’s Summit had to work with multiple departments to obtain a business license and/or development-related permits.
With the benefit of this valuable information gleaned from the citizens and business community, the City was able to update these processes with the establishment and debut in January 2014 of a “Development Center.” Today, project managers and service representatives communicate, coordinate and act as a single resource for each applicant, which helps them understand and navigate the business and development processes much more efficiently with less “transactional friction.”
Those interested in learning more about starting or growing a business in Lee’s Summit, call 816-969-1220 or visit www.cityofls.net/business.aspx.
We look forward to talking to you and making your entrepreneurial dreams come true in Lee’s Summit.
Mark Dunning is the director of the new Development Center for the city of Lee’s Summit.