Mission Woods mayoral candidates on the issues: Should Mission Woods consider merging with a neighboring city?

Mission Woods has a residential population of around 200.

Last month, we asked our readers what issues they wanted to hear the candidates running for local office address ahead of this fall’s local elections primary. Based on the input we received, we developed a three-item questionnaire for candidates running for mayor in Mission Woods

Today we publish the candidates’ responses to item two:

With a population of around 200 residents, Mission Woods is the smallest incorporated city in Johnson County. Do you believe Mission Woods should continue to be its own city? Or should it look to merge with a neighboring municipality? Why or why not?

Robert Tietze (incumbent)

Yes, I believe Mission Woods should continue to be its own city. In the past, we have in fact, pursued merging with another Northeast Johnson County city. For a variety of reasons that was not in the best interest of Mission Woods and it was not what the majority of our residents wanted. We have a very strong working relationship with the City of Westwood that provides our public safety, public works and building and codes enforcement and we are very pleased with that arrangement.

Darrell Franklin

In the city’s 82-year history, residents have voted on more than one occasion to remain Mission Woods, a stand-alone municipality. Inhabitants take great pride in this identification: we are a city at the nexus of a desirable neighborhood location, school choice, access to shopping and hospitals, and proximity to the Plaza and the vibrancy and attractions of Kansas City, Missouri. I believe the question is moot.

The city benefits from our relationship with the City of Westwood in terms of administration, public works, and police force: we are able to transact business, provide security, and perform maintenance through this mutually-rewarding partnership, which contributes to our continued viability. Residents’ needs and concerns remain front and center and the city has an agency to function more independently than simply a neighborhood within another city. Mission Woods can affect change for our city and relate to the larger community of other northeast municipalities by maintaining this independence.

Mission Woods consists of individual homeowners and larger residents as well: business entities and tax-empt church and state-owned properties. The city is surrounded on one side by a private country club in another city. Our city status enables us to provide oversight on individual, private, and corporate enterprisesm — to our benefit. The size of the city should contribute to the ease with which individual voices are heard and problems solved.

A limited population does present challenges: with a smaller pool of residents, finding citizens willing to volunteer to fill council seats and positions of oversight and planning is a paramount concern. In the 22 years I have lived in Mission Woods, the city has seen a continued influx of younger families with school-age and younger children. The beauty of our city is its diversity- the strengths gained by the experiences of long-term neighbors and the energy brought by new families who have chosen our city to raise their children.

Arising out of plotted land in 1937 within a J.C. Nichols Homes Association in the Country Club District, Mission Woods the neighborhood was a place where early excavations were made by horse-drawn equipment and deed covenants helped build an iconic neighborhood. The landscape remained the same as a fledging city and unique civic identity formed with restrictions thereafter erased.

Ultimately, it’s the voters of Mission Woods who will always determine the fate of the city.

Tomorrow we’ll post the candidates’ responses to item three:

What relevant experience do you bring to the role of mayor, and what is your primary motivation for seeking the seat?