Lee's Summit Journal

Baird’s state of city: new farmers market, libraries coming to Lee’s Summit

Mayor Bill Baird offered his State of the City report.
Mayor Bill Baird offered his State of the City report. File photo

The City of Lee’s Summit has approved more than $500 million in construction investments within the last year and a half, said Mayor Bill Baird at the 2019 Lee’s Summit State of the City address Sept. 24.

The city has secured a contract for land east of city hall for a permanent farmers market and concert venue, Baird said. The construction and operation will be planned with the Downtown Community Improvement District and the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street board.

“This is conceptual, but this gives us a starting point,” Baird said. “It’s going to be a continuation of downtown . . . You’ve got this farmers market that is going to hold 55 to 60 stalls and all this perimeter parking.”

The permanent, year-round farmers market could let vendors work indoors during bad weather or off seasons, Baird said. Additionally, private businesses such as boutiques, hotels or restaurants are planned for some of the newly acquired land. There are also plans to build a $52 million apartment complex with 274 units downtown.

“This is a game changer for Downtown Lee’s Summit and the businesses there,” Baird said. “The downtown was in great need for more residents for economic health as well as the workforce.”

His address also included descriptions for a third Mid-Continent Public Library. Plans for this library were first announced in April 2019, with groundbreaking the following May at the lot on the corner of Battery Drive and Blue Parkway.

“We are in the middle of renovating, building or rebuilding all of our 31 branches,” said Jim Staley public communications and planning director for the library. “We needed a new library because the two existing branches in Lee’s Summit are second and fifth highest in circulation in our system.”

Construction for the new library is scheduled to be completed in spring 2020, Staley said. The money for the construction and renovation projects were approved in the 2016 election, he said.

A new Lee’s Summit community calendar was launched the day before the speech, Baird said. The city, the chamber of commerce, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Parks & Recreation, Velocity Lee’s Summit, and the Economic Development Council worked together to create the calendar and its content, Baird said.

Residents will not have to search six different websites to know what’s happening in Lee’s Summit now, he added.

“My single goal was to create a platform which reinforced the idea that there is no better place to live, work, play or raise a family than Lee’s Summit,” said James McKenna, community marketing director for the chamber.

“The Community Events Calendar is a new and convenient one-stop source of information for our residents, business, neighboring communities and visitors.”