Group hoping to revitalize Raytown by bringing in more businesses and visitors

RAYTOWN, Mo. - Many people drive past Raytown on 350 Highway, but a new effort is underway to get more people to stop and stay.

The Raytown Main Street Association wants to know what residents want to see added to the downtown area.

“Downtown should be the heart of the community," said Chris Meyers, vice-president of the Raytown Main Street Association. "Years ago it would be a place where people meet gather, where there's shops restaurants, businesses.”

The group -- made up of community leaders, business owners and residents -- recently put a callout on Facebook, asking residents what they want to see come to downtown.

Community members voiced a lot of opinions, from sit-down restaurants and boutiques to bowling alleys and movie theaters. Those behind the project said there are certain challenges when it comes to making these wishes a reality.

“Raytown is pretty landlocked, so any kind of growth there`s going to be is going to be redevelopment of areas that are already there,” Meyers said.

Still, this is nothing that can’t be overcome.

The Lee’s Summit native said he's seen other cities be transformed and hopes Raytown can do the same.

“I think it's just going to take a few commitments from a few privately owned local businesses, something that's unique, and some developers to partner and say, 'Hey, I see there's value here. I'm going to invest in this area to start building new things,'” Meyers said.

The Raytown Main Street Association recently purchased a space downtown that will serve as the central hub for its efforts. They hope that having a visible hub for their organization will both inspire other businesses to move downtown and be a nearby support system for their neighbors.