The Independence City Council tonight heard the first reading of an ordinance that will begin work along College Street, a pilot project to showcase the power of targeted corridor improvements.
“During the 2019 annual City Council strategic planning session, the Council set as one of our primary areas of focus to improve public infrastructure by focusing on welcoming corridors,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “Specifically, the council directed staff to start with one corridor as an iconic success story by making improvements to the streets, sidewalks, curbs, lighting, and striping all at once. This project serves as a pilot for that philosophy and will establish the model for future projects. Councilmembers Dougherty and Perkins worked together on identifying College Street for the pilot program, a main connector between District 1 and District 2.”
“We are taking a new approach to address the infrastructure needs on the City’s north side by working together,” Dougherty said. “This project shows the progress we can make when Councilmembers collaborate. Councilmember Perkins and I brought together ideas, worked with our peers, key community partners, and City staff to design the plan. We are finding new ways to serve our citizens and meet the demands of all areas of our community, and we are proud to kick this off in northern Independence.”
The work will occur along College Street between Frederick and Lakeview. Work will include upgrades to storm and sanitary sewers, burying overhead power and communication lines, and improved sidewalks, curbs and gutters.
"In 2017 the City Council approved and implemented a very forward thinking Strategic Plan, it challenged us to find ways to think outside of our box," Perkins said. "By coordinating multiple departments to target a single area we are meeting several goals within the plan including improving the quality of our infrastructure, promoting growth by addressing critical infrastructure needs in our neighborhoods, and being financially sustainable as we maximize resources by using federal CDBG dollars, stormwater sales tax funds, water funds and electric funds."
Jack Figg, a retired executive of Orbital ATK and ARMCO Inc., and an Emeritus member of the Independence EDC Board, is now owner of Figg Properties and an investor in the College Street project.
“We have many neighborhoods in Independence that have long needed more in-depth help,” Figg said. “Projects like this show individuals looking to come to our community what a neighborhood can look like. Change takes time, starting in the neighborhoods in which we live will encourage citizens to move into our neighborhoods and stay there.”
Community partners see the College Street project as an essential step in strengthening neighborhoods and ensuring stable, affordable housing.
“Sustainable community growth requires the right mix of both neighborhood reinvestment and new development,” Truman Habitat for Humanity Director Christina Leakey said. “This pilot project has the potential to demonstrate how investing in the long term health of northern Independence neighborhoods can contribute to community economic development. Doing so requires thoughtful, strategic partnerships.”
The Council will hear the second reading and vote on this first phase of the project on October 7. Citizens will be notified before any work begins in the area and notices will be shared with the City as the project continues.