Finding gratitude around Lee’s Summit isn’t a challenging task by any stretch of the imagination.
In fact, for most of us, we could simply open the front doors of our homes or businesses and find 27 different items to be thankful for — parks that are close by, wonderful neighbors, our favorite shops or restaurants, good friends.
In 2017, like most years, we in Lee’s Summit have seen more than our share of things around us for which we can be thankful.
We started 2017 with political turmoil, both with our city council and our school board. I think if we are going to start the thankful thoughts anywhere, it is that those waters have calmed as the year went along.
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The amount of negativity seeping out was overshadowing all the positive and forward-thinking decisions both those elected bodies make to keep our schools functioning at the highest levels and to ensure our city is competitive for business and development and cooperative to one another.
I am thankful we have moved on from much of that.
Speaking of development, I am thankful for the entrepreneurs and developers that invest in Lee’s Summit, helping to add jobs, income, and opportunity to this city. Progress and growth are often tough to sell and navigate, but if workforce development, a growing tax base, and new residents are the byproduct of these growing pains, we should all be thankful for what may be in the future.
Road projects in progress or completed should earn quite a bit of thankfulness as well. As much bellyaching as some people do about Interstate 470 or the Missouri 291/U.S. 50 bridge, those projects have a timeline and an end game — better navigation and travel for us plus more development opportunities for the city.
I am exponentially thankful for what we have going on in downtown Lee’s Summit. This year brought with it many advancements and positive news about our downtown, including the fact that a national convention is coming to Kansas City in 2018 and bringing the affiliated Big Bash to Lee’s Summit in late March 2018.
Business is thriving in our central business district. Forward-thinking building and business owners are looking for new and unique uses to enhance our award-winning downtown. Some are celebrating one year in business, some 10 or 15 years. For these business owners and their customers, thankfulness truly abounds.
We should all be thankful, too, for the amount of volunteerism that seems to be the norm in Lee’s Summit — not only in our downtown, but in our parks, at nonprofit organizations, and in our schools. Lee’s Summit residents and businesses seem to answer the call to give every time they are asked.
For me, personally this year, I am eternally thankful for walks to Lee’s Summit Elementary. The dads I see volunteering at Watch D.O.G.S., friends who will tow your dead car, neighbors who own a leaf blower, people who forgive, good listeners, and community leaders who put actions ahead of rhetoric.
Lee’s Summit resident John Beaudoin writes about city and civic issues, people and personalities around town. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.