From the Mayor 06/01/16

Reprinted with Permission from the Independence Daily Reporter

It’s amazing that good things just keep happening in our town. Individually, they may seem small, but the affect will be big down the road. This week I want to discuss some good things regarding some local convenience stores. 
Jump Start continues to invest in their store at 10th and Main with the installation of a new canopy. The old canopy got a bit banged up by hail; instead of leaving it alone, the owner bought a brand spanking new canopy with high-efficiency LED lighting. It really helps make the place sparkle, both day and night. A big thank you to Jump Start for your continued investment in our city.

And, the Jump Start owner didn’t stop there. He also purchased the long empty convenience store diagonally across the street from his store. Driving by this morning, I noticed a large backhoe parked there. A bit of research has uncovered that the underground fuel storage tanks are scheduled to be removed beginning this week. The existing canopy will also be removed. As to further plans after the removal of the tank and canopy, I don’t know. But having the abandoned fuel storage tanks removed is really great news for our town. Many potential buyers will not even consider buying a lot with buried fuel tanks, there is just too much risk of future liability. So it’s great news that someone is planning to invest in that very high profile corner lot.

I guess that this is not technically news, but it’s worth mentioning again that the old Town & Country building at Penn and Chestnut has been given to the city. City crews have now removed the old building. What’s next for that lot? The city commission has elected not to spend any money on it at this point. However, many different people have mentioned ideas for making that lot a beautiful “welcome sign” to our downtown. Perhaps we can come up with a plan for some beautiful landscaping. Maybe even a fountain. If you happen to be a landscape architect, or you’re just skilled at designing beautiful landscaping, and would be willing to volunteer some time, please give me a call. 

Finally, I had a conversation yesterday with Skip Ware who is the Regional Manager for the Casey’s General Store chain based in Ankeny, Iowa. Independence’s Casey’s at Penn and Oak is about to get an expansion and a massive facelift. The renovation will consist of several different parts. First, the store will be expanded to the south to include bigger, nicer restrooms as well as a new laundry facility for instore use. Second, I understand that the store will also be expanded to the north; they will continue to make pizzas and donuts, but now they will also add a sandwich line to sell sandwiches. Also, new coolers will be added for beer sales. Along with extensive exterior updates, the interior will also receive an entirely new look including new cherry cabinets throughout. To install the new interior, the store will be closed for a very short time in mid-July, closing on a Sunday night and reopening with the new interior on Friday of the same week. Again, a big thank you to Casey’s for your continued investment in our city.

While each of these projects may seem relatively small, these types of continued investment in our community is the best way to insure future growth. At risk of sounding self-serving, we want highway traffic to stop in Independence. When they stop to use the new restrooms, because the outside of the store looks inviting and attractive, they also buy gas and drinks, and we all benefit from the sales tax revenues. I know that we were all sick and tired of the west Main renovation long before it was finished. But, this is why it was so farsighted for the city leaders (long before I was involved) to work with KDOT to improve our highway through town, as opposed to routing it around town which was KDOT’s preference.

 I know I’ve said it before, but many small brushstrokes make the masterpiece which is Independence.

Mayor Gary Hogsett