A new face will soon be looking out from the center seat at Raytown’s Board of Aldermen meetings.
Mayor David Bower isn’t seeking another term, leaving his chair wide open. The two mayoral contenders, both longtime Raytown residents, aren’t strangers to civil service.
Pat Ertz is leaving his 4th Ward alderman position to try for the seat. Ertz also manages a local water district in Raytown. Michael McDonough, a retired police officer, is serving on the Raytown Charter Commission.
The candidates prioritize similar areas when talking about what they want to do for the future of downtown development and the city as a whole.
“I’m interested in planning and supporting activities downtown, such as offering the green space to churches and civic organizations for events, to help attract people downtown and begin to increase the foot traffic in the area,” Ertz said.
Ertz added that he currently serves on a committee for the tax abatement revitalization program. The goal of the program, and a goal of Ertz’s, is to make downtown more appealing as a destination.
One of McDonough’s plans to draw positive attention to the area is by prioritizing streetscapes and pushing the schedule on development.
“The downtown development can proceed at a faster pace by using funds from existing grants that have not been utilized,” he said.
A push for downtown development isn’t the only thing the candidates have in common.
For Ertz, his list of top to-dos includes bumping up property values, keeping a close eye on neighborhood safety and making progress within the Missouri 350 corridor.
“This includes an emphasis on regional involvement, such as Cerner’s expansion into the Bannister complex, Katy Trail, and regional transit initiatives,” he said.
McDonough echoed the need to improve neighborhoods.
“Clean up the neighborhoods through fair and productive codes enforcement to make the neighborhoods attractive,” he said. “One of the elements to add to productive codes enforcement is to have a plan to mitigate the violations.”
He also included working on infrastructure improvement projects with the use of current taxes and finding grants to help accelerate development project timelines. He also emphasized the need to improve aesthetics.
Neither candidate wanted to give a hard position on the future of the Super Splash USA water park. The aquatic facility has had lots of ups and downs in recent months.
In September, the city announced the facility would close for 2015 while deciding what to do with it, a decision that was later reversed. A study is underway looking at the future for different aspects of the parks system and how residents feel about it.
“I would think it prudent for me as mayor and others to wait for the results and study those results and see what is practicable in the future,” McDonough said.
Although Ertz was involved in the decision to rescind the 2015 closing, he’s waiting on study results before making a final decision.
“Results of this survey will provide us with a blueprint for the future to determine how to spend our precious dollars in ways that benefit the citizens most,” he said.
Address: 9802 E 79th Terrace
Occupation: District manager at the Jackson County Public Water District #2 based in Raytown
Education: Associate’s degree in arts from South East Iowa Community College
Previous public service: Raytown alderman since 2007; chairman of the Raytown Chamber of Commerce, 2012; Chamber of Commerce board member, 2008-present; city liaison to Raytown Public School District
Michael T. McDonough
Address: 11715 E. 78th St.
Occupation: Retired from Raytown Police Department after about 40 years
Education: Graduated from Raytown South High and the Kansas City Regional Police Academy
Previous public service: Currently on Raytown Charter Commission