From the Mayor -- 03/16/16

Reprinted by permission from the Independence Daily Reporter 

The greatest masterpiece is created from thousands of tiny brushstrokes.

Let me begin my first attempt at writing with some heartfelt thanks.  Thank you to Leonhard Caflisch and Fred Meier for appointing me to our city commission.  Thank you to the voters of Independence for electing me to my own term on the commission.  And thank you for the chance to serve as mayor of this amazing town; it is one of the greatest honors of my life.
Many of you have heard that my wife and I searched all across Kansas before choosing Independence as our home.  We loved it at first sight, and we love it even more after living here for 2-1/2 years.  Independence has a glorious history, and our future is even brighter than our past.

The thing that amazes Annie and me over and over is how much is going on in this city.  When we first arrived, we were determined to attend every activity in town.  That goal didn’t last even one day, as it was immediately obvious that there are simply too many events scheduled to attend them all.  Activity in this town is booming.  I had a visitor from Kansas City say recently, “I spend every day traveling to small towns all over the state, and none of the other downtowns are bustling like Independence….you can’t even find a parking place.”  While I often complain when I can’t find a place to park downtown, it really is a sign of how much is going on.

Whether we like it or not, visitors tend to judge the success of a city by its downtown.  That’s why it’s especially exciting to see so many significant improvements going on downtown.  Aaron Schrader has made an enormous investment in new seating and other interior improvements in our movie theater; I challenge you to find a nicer movie experience anywhere, in any city.  Ned Stichman is making a major investment to rejuvenate the Litwin Building, and it is looking fantastic.  Security 1st Title has a major renovation underway at 114 North Penn, and it will be a wonderful improvement.  Jim Hayward and Rhonda Clark have renovated 221 North Penn into a combination art studio/piano studio and a fabulous loft condominium.  CRMC is making a major commitment to our downtown by undertaking an extensive remodel of the Union Gas Building at 122 West Myrtle to serve as their new doctors’ clinic.  Gerald McDonald has created a beautiful new luxury apartment on the 2nd floor of the Jackson Hewitt Building, with a little help from the Independence Housing Authority.  If you believe the old saying, “Investment today means growth tomorrow,” then Independence clearly has great days to come.

Stay tuned to future columns "From The Mayor" as we survey the great (and not so great) things happening in our wonderful city.

Mayor Gary Hogsett