Bond issue passes with big numbers

rpulley@lsjournal.comApril 11, 2014 

  • 5,046

    Number of votes in favor of the bond.

Lee’s Summit voters April 8 said yes to a $10 million general bond issue to help finance rebuilding the Missouri 291 south and U.S. 50 Interchange.

The vote was 5,046 to 1,059 at nearly 83 percent in favor. The no-tax-increase bond issue required a four-sevenths majority to pass.

Will Coates, co-chair of the Lee’s Summit Gateway Business Alliance, formed to work on transportation issues like the U.S. 50 interchange said voters recognized the importance of rebuilding the interchange.

“It was well deserved for citizens, no doubt about that, it was long overdue,” Coates said. “It just makes good sense all around, it was reflected in the numbers and the way people voted.”

The approval rate was the highest ever for a city road issue and as high as any other bond issue approved for the city.

The footprint for the preliminary design takes an access road through the idle Adesa site, which creates an opportunity for new retail and restaurants there.

“It’s going to be a rebirth for this side of town,” Coates said.

Coates thanked Mark Dickey, vice president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Bill Brown, Christine Bushyhead and Gene Gamber for their efforts promoting passage.

Mayor Randy Rhoads said the city began working on its plans to complete the project this week.

“It’s a recognized problem there, and voters realized unless we step up, nothing will get done,” Rhoads said.

Under the plan The Missouri Department of Transportation is to contribute $8 million for the improvements estimated to cost $16 million.

The city included an extra $2 million in case there are overruns.

City Engineer Dena Mezger said the improvements are intended to replace the aging Jefferson Street bridge and congestion in the area.

The city and state are sharing costs because Lee’s Summit is asking MoDOT to add improvements beyond the state’s responsibility, she said.

The plan includes a new bridge, a roundabout and a diverging diamond, and include pedestrian/bicycling path for the overpass.

The Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council each endorsed the bond issue. The improvements will provide better access to about 400 acres of for redevelopment.

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