A quality of life issue

Updated: 2013-10-02T04:40:48Z

We all talk about quality of life, but what does it mean exactly?

To some people, it’s art, theater and music. For others, it may be lake living with a good-sized boat ready at the dock.

For many, recreation helps define an area’s quality of life. Officials in Blue Springs certainly think so. That’s why they’re asking voters to approve a half-cent sales tax next month to finance construction of a community center.

It’s an investment that many other cities have already made, as this week’s 816 cover story points out. Writer Roxie Hammill surveyed the scene and found an array of civic spaces that give residents a place to lift a few a weights, swim laps, play basketball or simply meet to share a hobby.

Many amenities are similiar from place to place, but some are unique. Turn to Page 10 to find out where you can climb a rock wall, go ice skating or jump into a boxing ring.

Roxie also explores the issue of private versus public investment in these kinds of amenities and talks to experts about the benefits, tangible and intangible, that communities derive from offering a wide array of indoor recreation.

And on Page 4, veteran Star staffer Brian Burnes takes a look at tax-increment financing in Independence, where taxpayers have paid nearly $14 million the last two years on the project anchored by a Bass Pro Shops store. Having covered municipal matters in Jackson County for many years, Brian brings a historical perspective to this important issue.

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