INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The city wants to connect its downtown square to neighborhoods, the Englewood Arts District and the Truman Library.

The “Truman Connected” plan is designed to link the downtown square with Independence’s rich history and art. This effort started before the pandemic, in 2019.

There are streetscape improvements planned for the square. They include landscaping, lighting and accommodations for bicycles.

The city manager says nine out of ten Independence residents told local leaders in a survey that preserving and enhancing the downtown square is critically important to them.

“We know from studying our peer cities locally and nationally that downtown redevelopment has a huge economic impact on a community,” said Zach Walker, city manager. “For years the malls, the indoor malls
or even the outdoor shopping centers were the flavor of the week. But that has changed with the rise of online shopping. People are looking for a more experiential opportunity now, something they can’t experience in their own community.”

The streetscape improvements for the square will cost $3.3-million. But Walker says most of that money is coming from federal funds and other grants. Walker says city taxpayers have spent only $20,000 on the project.

Tuesday afternoon, folks can drop by city hall to learn more about the upgrades. City planners will be taking public comments about the plan from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m.

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