Metro Mayors Work Toward Economic Devlopment

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JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. -- The buzz words for 2012 in Eastern Jackson County are Economic Development and the mayors of each of the cities are working together toward that goal.

In Lee's Summit, it's all about development. The city sits on 70 square miles and it just acquired 300 acres from Unity Village. Much of that land hasn't been developed.

"Any time you can bring something like that into your reserve of real estate, it's a good thing because it give you some more tools to attract businesses," said Lee's Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads.

That's also what Independence wants to do through redevelopment and revitalization of its older neighborhoods.

"It's the life blood of your community," said Independence Mayor Don Reimal. "You want to maintain the businesses you have and we work very hard to maintain those businesses. But to bring new business and new housing into your community is the life blood of your community.  If you don't grow, then you're standing still."

While Lee's Summit and Independence will work on increasing their tax bases through new construction, Blue Springs will work toward making a science and technology center, called Innovation Park, a reality.

"We're talking about jobs," said Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross. "We're talking about high paying jobs that will not only benefit people in Blue Springs. But there will be people from the entire metro coming out seeking those employers that want to partner with the University of Missouri to create this turn of the century type jobs."

Further connecting the mayors is the potential for a regional rail plan which they say, if brought to fruition could end up joining their cities with the rest of the metro. Metro voters would have to approve any plans for regional rail.

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