On April 8, the good citizens of Lee’s Summit have the opportunity to vote “yes” to Question 1. No-Tax Increase General Bond for the purposes of constructing a new interchange at the intersection of MO 291 S/ MO 50. This vital intersection and the bridge, now in its 50th year and close to the end of its useful life, frequently congested, in poor repair and a safety hazard.
The slogan for this redevelopment project, “Tomorrow by Design,” opens up a major bottleneck in the city’s highway system, anticipates future land development and use, and represents an innovative yet cost-effective design proposed by Missouri Department of Transportation.
As co-chairs of the Lee’s Summit Gateway Business Alliance, a consortium of over 20 Lee’s Summit businesses and the 3,000 employees they represent, we have long understood the benefits a safer and improved interchange would deliver to the community, local businesses, employees and commuters traveling through southern Lee’s Summit.
We also recognize that a redeveloped interchange will make the two anchor locations of former employers Calmar and Adesa auto auction, and parcels to the south, more attractive for development. For years, properties along our southern corridors have been deteriorating, idle, unsightly, and under producing relative to their northern neighbors. This reminds us all what happens when inadequate interchanges block job-and tax-producing outcomes of potential development. With redevelopment, this interchange improvement is more than a facelift; it is major and should jumpstart long-overdue development along our Southern corridor.
The benefits to the community for reconstruction of the Lee’s Summit southern gateway should be similar to those realized by the community after the City and MoDOT made road improvements in north Lee’s Summit at Strother and Woods Chapel interchanges.
Their example shows how a modern, improved thoroughfare will make our award-winning downtown more accessible to those people heading northbound and will serve as a southern gateway to further company locations and expansions on 300-plus acres of developable land all the way to the newly improved Missouri-150.
Together, we have the unique opportunity to reduce accidents and improve pedestrian safety, dramatically improve access and traffic capacity from the north and south, and create job opportunities and new taxes for the city. We can do all this without a tax increase and with the strong likelihood of matching MoDOT funding. Rarely do such benefits align for all stakeholders.
The city has a proven track record of no-tax increase bonds, but we’re asking you not to take that for granted. On April 8, please vote confidently in favor of “Tomorrow by Design,” the only question on the ballot.
Will Coates is the CEO and president of Billy Goat Industries, Inc., a Lees Summit-headquartered manufacturer. Chip Moxley is president of Tingle Flooring, a wholesale floor covering distributor with offices in Lees Summit, St. Louis and Denver.