We’ve had a lot to celebrate in Lee’s Summit the past couple of years, and 2017 is shaping up to be filled with groundbreakings, grand openings and more good news.
That’s why it wasn’t a big surprise when Lee’s Summit was voted one of the “100 Best Places to Live” four times by “Money Magazine,” ranked fifth by “USA” on its list of “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live,” and placed No. 1 on Zippia’s list of the “Happiest Mid-Sized Cities in America.”
I’m often asked what makes a good community a great community. In the case of Lee’s Summit, I believe it’s our history of building partnerships that turn challenges into opportunities and ultimately create a better future for all residents.
These positive results foster a spirit of good-will that breathes optimism through neighborhoods and businesses, as well as institutions such as the school system and even throughout the region at large.
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Recent examples of this “let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done” attitude are apparent through the revitalization of historic downtown, the reinvention of the Longview Farm community, and the public-private investment in Lee’s Summit’s education ecosystem that includes the new Missouri Innovation Campus and the blossoming technology and innovation corridor taking shape nearby along Chipman Road.
Our investment in these assets, along with Lee’s Summit’s safe neighborhoods and dependable municipal services, will undoubtedly continue to attract more young families and professionals to our community.
With a population poised to hit 100,000 by 2020 and a workforce that added 5,000 jobs from 2011-2014, we already know people want to live and work here. And city staff, along with the business community, will continue to work together to plan, preserve and invest in amenities and assets that will sustain growth for future generations.
Examples of those fundamental investments include supporting and funding the basics such as an education system that produces workforce-ready graduates and homegrown career opportunities, as well as proactive investment in roads, bridges and interchanges that will accommodate new residents and visitors to Lee’s Summit.
Housing permits are at their highest levels in a decade, and home values on average rose by almost 10 percent from 2009 to 2015. The City of Lee’s Summit celebrated $1 billion in public and private investment in 2015-16, and City Hall has earned one of the highest credit ratings in the region.
Residents can sleep soundly, knowing that their biggest personal investment is supported by award-winning schools, fully accredited public safety, parks and public works to assure a safe community environment focused on providing quality services.
If the construction activity slows you down, you might find yourself frustrated from time to time. But if you’re like me, that temporary delay can also signal an opportunity to appreciate living in a community that is changing and growing and investing in itself.
So next time you’re delayed in traffic by a construction project, take a deep breath to pause and remember that sometimes we may need to slow down just a little in order to appreciate all the progress we have making!
Randy Rhoads is the mayor of Lee’s Summit.