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2017 State of the City Address

Post Date:01/31/2018 3:56 PM

On Thursday, January 25, Mayor Leonard Jones delivered the State of the City Address at The View. The speech transcript and video are below.


2018 State of the City Address 

(give welcome & recognize Michelle Jones, family, welcome all dignitaries: colleagues, elected officials,csd #4, bright futures, acknowledge the different boards & commissions, jackson county water district #1, jackson county advocate, chamber of commerce, gap, police chaplains.)

A very special thanks to Valarie Poindexter in Communications

Thank you to the Board of Aldermen for hosting my state of the City address.

Before we talk about our many accomplishments in 2017 and goals for 2018, it’s important for every resident, Grandview business leaders and community partners to know your Grandview Board of Aldermen. They all work hard and thoughtfully for the good of the City of Grandview.

Representing Ward 1 for Grandview are:

  • Alderman Sandy Kessinger
  • Alderman Damon Randolph

Representing Ward 2:

  • Alderman Annette Turnbaugh
  • Alderman Brian Hochstein

    Representing Ward 3

  • Alderman Jim Crain
  • Alderman John Maloney

This is your Grandview Board of Aldermen.


One of the many charming qualities about the City of Grandview, is we have a great story to tell. Our founders admired this rolling, green landscape and declared it a “grand view.” Grandview is also where President Truman realized in the fields of the future Truman’s Marketplace that he did NOT want to be a farmer. Today, every resident, business owner, employee and even visitor to Grandview has a story.

Grandview is now working on a new chapter. For the last 26 years, Cory Smith served as Grandview City Administrator. Cory announced his retirement last year, and served Grandview effectively and efficiently until the last day of 2017. Please join me in recognizing Cory Smith.

The Board of Alderman and I started the search for a new City Administrator last summer. We took this search to heart. We know how vital this position is to Grandview’s growth. We wanted someone with integrity, experience, innovative approaches to problem-solving and someone with a vision for the future. I insisted that the community be a part of the interview process. The community’s feedback was necessary and very valuable. Our nationwide search ended at the Finance Director’s office at Grandview City Hall. Let us congratulate our new Grandview City Administrator Cemal Gungor.

Cemal will be an important part of helping the Board of Aldermen and me write a new chapter in the story of Grandview. Today, you will hear stories of accomplishments and hopes of achievements for the coming year. The story of a smart city. A growing city. A kind city. A safe city. The story of different city groups and organizations working together to tell everyone great things happen here. “We Are Grandview” as we are “Building Tomorrow’s Community”.




The momentum continues into 2018 with great excitement about an investment in our future. There is great potential in the Housing Study. This economic development tool helps us speak the language of developers and helps us tell Grandview’s story in a way that real estate agents, housing and retail developers, construction companies, and lenders can understand. We now have the data and statistics they need to consider Grandview for future housing development. Grandview is poised to market itself to more people who want to live in and visit Grandview. When the housing study is complete we’ll release it to the public. We intend to be very aggressive in meeting with developers and anyone else who has an interest in building and living in Grandview.

Soon, more people WILL be living in Grandview along the booming Highway 150 corridor. Grand Summit Golf Course and Apartments has a long waiting list. The owners are expected to begin construction of another 300 units this year.

Also in the Highway 150 corridor, more than one million people a year are expected to visit Grandview to play soccer on the fields of The Gateway Village Sports Complex. The first of its kind stay and play soccer facility is in its final stages of approval and has taken on an exciting new partner. Developers and the City are still working together to overcome one last challenge and we are all hopeful to see bulldozers at work in the fields next month.

And just behind Gail’s Harley-Davidson, I’m very excited about the expectant groundbreaking of a local restaurant and microbrewery. “The Chive” and “Transparent Brewing” are both investments by the Brown family of Burger & Brown Engineering. It’s gratifying to watch one successful Grandview business owner want to create more great businesses in Grandview.

Over at Truman’s Marketplace, you will see a new fast food casual restaurant break ground this year. The City has also been in touch with Walmart asking them about their plans for the empty Sam’s Club property. A lot of citizens ask about this, as they should, since the large vacant building really stands out next to the bustling and beautiful Truman’s Marketplace. After years of sitting empty, Walmart has finally decided to sell the building. This will create a great opportunity for the City. We want a business to complement the vibrant new development and we are already at work trying to make sure the building is placed in good hands.

The future owners of the Sam’s Club property will get something the old Sam’s Club didn’t have-- public transit. This fall, additional KCATA bus service is expected to start in Grandview. The line doesn’t have final approval yet, but it’s expected to travel from Truman’s Marketplace down Grandview Road to Main Street then back up to Truman’s Marketplace and finally north into Kansas City. We are very excited that this partnership with KCATA can bring a transportation option to our citizens and others who want to visit and/or work in Grandview.

Some long awaited City projects are also expected to be completed this year. The new Meadowmere Splash Park approved in the 2014 no-tax increase bond issue will finally break ground in the spring and is expected to be drenching people by next summer. Also, tails and trails dog park will get its long awaited pedestrian bridge. Grandview is giving the historic highway 40 bridge a new life along the little blue trail. Reconstruction is set to start late this year.

I know the video mentioned this, but it’s very important and I want to make sure that I say it again. Last year, we asked a lot from the Grandview voters and the Grandview voters delivered indeed. We asked the Grandview voters to renew the Capital Improvement Sales tax in August and they did. In November, we asked the Grandview voters to approved the local use tax, allowing Grandview to keep our motor vehicle sales tax as well as collect a local sales tax on some online purchases, and the Grandview voters delivered again. THE APPROVAL OF THE LOCAL USE TAX HELPS SECURE FINANCIAL STABILITY FOR THE CITY’S FUTURE. We are one of only a handful of Missouri cities to get a local use tax passed on the first try. I know this means that citizens appreciate the progress they see and trust the Grandview Board of Aldermen and me to keep doing the right thing. Now, I have one more thing to ask of the Grandview voters. Help us keep our community progressive and safe by voting on a Public Safety Sales Tax in April. The ½-cent sales tax will help us keep the experience staff we have by providing more competitive pay, and will also allow us to add additional staff.  

The Grandview Chamber of Commerce is always working to promote Grandview and be proactive for its member businesses. Part of this work is serving on the Eastern Jackson County Public Policy Council. This strong partnership with other Chambers is vital to making sure the voices of Grandview business owners are heard in Jefferson City. The Grandview Chamber is also recognizing the value of social media, highlighting member accomplishments and planning to use this important tool for an essential milestone event. This September, the Chamber will host their 15th Music on Main event. This event is a blessing for the community every year. 

When a THREE-BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY and a much-respected engineering giant approaches you and states, “We think you’re doing great things. Let’s do great things together.” You do it. This year, Burns & McDonnell and the City of Grandview are tackling technology together.  Being a Smart City doesn’t mean you have to be a big City. Grandview is already doing so many things that make us smart, like using apps to determine the quality of street surfaces. This year, with Burns & McDonnell we will launch “Smart City. Small City.” This partnership will allow us to find new, affordable technology and processes to make Grandview run more efficiently and effectively. This initiative has even been invited to present at the Smart Cities Conference.

And speaking of smart, you can’t get any smarter than the Grandview C-4 School District’s FOCUS group who won the “regional” 2017 Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains contest. I am personally excited about this huge accomplishment and proud to live in the same City as these very gifted 4th & 5th graders. This year, as the students work to bring their “Big Brain Theory” to life in a $1 million project for Union Station Science City, the Grandview C-4 School District will also strive to achieve “accredited with distinction” status for more elementary schools. The District is also working to improve upon already rising ACT scores. This is the first year that the district will pay for every student to take the ACT.

I always enjoy sharing with other people what’s great about Grandview. One quality that I constantly mention is what a kind and caring community we have here. The City is sponsoring an amazing summer event spearheaded by Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The last week in June, a surge of volunteers will come to Grandview for a mission called SERVANTS IN THE CITY. About 40 youth and chaperones will help those in need with needed home repairs or upgrades. We’re already working with Executive Director Grandview Assistance Program Jackie Knabe to identify the families who need help the most. If you want to help support this mission, more information is available on the table as you leave and on Grandview’s website.

Kind. Smart. Growing. Open for business. Easy to work with. This is all part of Grandview’s story. What’s your Grandview story? Tell us. Write us. Share it. This will be the year everyone realizes the greatness in Grandview because We Are Grandview and we are “Building Tomorrow’s Community”.


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