We continue today with our questions for candidates for public office from shawneemissionpost.com readers. Today we feature the responses to the final question from candidates for Mission City Council. Today’s question is:
What do you see as the biggest untapped opportunity to improve the City of Mission?
The biggest untapped opportunity is the continued improvement of Johnson Drive. The improvements made to Johnson Drive are a great start but we need to build on that momentum and continue to look for ways to improve the shopping experience for our businesses and their customers. We need to convert some of the vacant lots around Johnson Drive to additional parking for our businesses and focus on bringing in more mixed use to our community.
When my family moved to Mission in 1966, I can remember the old Dairy Queen, on Johnson Drive, with its gravel parking lot and single tree that we would all gather around to eat our ice cream cones. Mission has come a long way since then. From that time when I was a young boy, and then a young man, I would hear my Dad talk about the things that were happening in the city. The one thing that he used to say was how strong Mission was financially due to the strength of the businesses in the city. In the last decade, we have seen business wane in our small city. I now can see that business in Mission is on the verge of exploding. With the completion of Johnson Drive between Nall and Lamar, we are seeing our occupancies climb. We have seen new development in the West gate area, and now we are starting to see things beginning to move in the East Gate. I believe the biggest untapped opportunity in Mission is the formation of a united association of business and property owners. That organization was started by the Downtown District task force. If we can get these leaders of our business community organized, and working together as a team, I believe they would be stronger than the sum of their parts. That organization along with targeted assistance from the city would really make Mission strong for years to come.
The biggest untapped opportunity for Mission is to engage the people who live and work here to become more involved in the community. Often times in today’s world we’re so busy with the day-to-day routine that we don’t take the time to get to know our neighbors. We need to work to bring better networking opportunities to help establish stronger connections between both the business and residential segments of our community. This will foster trust and a stronger sense of pride in the community, which will make us more prosperous.
A study that was done by the Knight Foundation shows a very strong link between community attachment and local GDP growth. The biggest factors that they found in boosting community attachment were stronger social offerings and openness. By continuing programs like the Mission Farm and Flower Market, expanding community events and encouraging more involvement through neighborhood groups we can boost our community attachment. There are even some low cost, high value amenities like a dog park that can be a great asset to attract people to visit Mission and learn more about the great things that we have to offer. Continuing to provide local government that is transparent and open to feedback and participation from our residents and businesses is also an important way to foster engagement.
Working together to achieve our goals and solve the problems we face will ultimately build a stronger sense of pride and make Mission a desirable place to live and conduct business.
Thank you to everyone who has read our responses to these questions and thanks to the Prairie Village Post for putting this together. I welcome any additional questions and feedback from my neighbors.
The biggest untapped opportunity the City of Mission has at this time is the possible development of the 16 acres of fallow ground on our eastern border.
Many constituents would love to see an off leash dog park. The nearest off leash dog parks are in Shawnee Mission Park located in Shawnee and Leawood Dog park located off of I-435. Also, I think it would be great to partner with the Shawnee Mission North High School and their Arts department to showcase their students’ work in Mission’s public buildings.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of your readers for taking their time to read these articles and I would appreciate the opportunity to represent the constituents of Mission, Ward III, on the city council.
Ward 1 council candidate Pat Quinn, who is unopposed, did not submit a response to the question.