South KC Perspective
Cerner Employees Name Desired Retail Services
By John Sharp
Nearly all respondents to a survey of Cerner Corporation employees said if they are assigned to the now under construction Cerner Trails Campus at the site of the former Bannister Mall that they will use retail services in close proximity to the office campus.
The results of the survey regarding desired retail services and housing options were announced at a June 14 event sponsored by the South Kansas City Alliance that over 220 persons including many business owners and realtors had registered to attend.
The survey, which had over 600 responses, showed 92% of respondents would buy gasoline, 90% would buy groceries and 89% would patronize nearby non-fast food restaurants.
Over half of the respondents said they would use these nearby retail services: convenience stores (66%), a doctor or dentist (63%), pharmacies (63%), fast food restaurants (59%) and stores selling clothing and clothing accessories (54%).
The survey shows the tremendous potential for growth in retail services surrounding the new Cerner office campus. A local economic area report by Realtors Property Resource of the census tracts surrounding the campus released with the survey shows there are not enough of all categories of retail services to meet existing consumer demands except one – liquor stores – of which there are too many.
That report shows a huge gap between consumer needs and availability in retail categories such as shoe stores, specialty food stores, furniture stores, office supply/stationery/gift stores, department stores, jewelry/luggage/leather goods stores, book/periodical/music stores, sports/hobby/musical instrument stores, electronics/appliance stores and clothing stores.
An increased demand will be generated by the approximately 16,000 Cerner employees with an average salary of $75,000 who are expected to office at the new Cerner campus over the next ten years. The first two office towers are on track to be completed before the end of this year and are expected to accommodate 3,000 to 3,500 employees who will be moving in during January and February 2017.
The campus will include a daycare facility and health clinic for employees. It also is expected to include about 370,000 square feet of public retail space including restaurants and a boutique hotel.
Turning to housing, the overwhelming majority of respondents said their ideal trip to work should take less than 20 minutes. Of those responding, 41% said they are “very likely” to move within the next five years, and 29% said they are “somewhat likely” to move.
Three-fourths of the respondents said they want a single family home, 69% want a home ten years old or less and 65% expect to pay $200,000 or more when purchasing a new home. Almost half of the respondents (49%) said they would prefer maintenance-provided homes or communities.
With large areas of forest and pasture land near the new Cerner campus, the opportunity to build the type of upscale housing desired by Cerner employees seems exceptionally attractive.
The South Kansas City Alliance and the City Planning & Development Department worked with Cerner to conduct the survey. Other organizations participating in the June 14 event were the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors and the Southtown Council.
Library Eyes Levy Election
The Mid-Continent Public Library Board of Trustees has voted to put an increase in its property tax levy on the ballot, possibly as early as November, according to a library spokesman.
Jim Staley, community relations and planning director for the library, said the Board is considering placing an 8-cent per $100 in assessed valuation levy increase on the November ballot which he said would cost owners of a $150,000 home (the average home value in the district) about $22 annually.
Speaking at a Second Friday meeting hosted by Councilmen Kevin McManus and Scott Taylor on June 10, Staley said the increase (the first since 1983) would raise about $9.5 million annually. He said it would be used to pay for rising operational costs and a proposed $86 million capital improvements plan.
He said that plan includes renovating 25 libraries (including the Red Bridge, Grandview and Blue Ridge branches), replacing four libraries and possibly building two new libraries in Lee’s Summit and between Blue Springs and Independence.
The Mid-Continent Library covers Clay and Platte Counties and the parts of Jackson County outside the Kansas City School District.
Powder Mill Bridge Dedication
A crowd of local residents and visitors to our area attended the dedication of the Powder Mill pedestrian bridge over I-435 on the north side of Bannister Road June 9.
The bridge, along with a similar pedestrian bridge over 71 Highway south of Bannister Road, are key links in an effort to construct a more than 40-mile walkable trail on the route of the historic California, Oregon and Santa Fe Trails from Wayne City Landing on the Missouri River in Sugar Creek to Gardner Junction in Kansas where the trails diverged.
“We are standing in the footsteps of the original trail travelers,” Aaron Mahr Yanez, superintendent of the National Trails Intermountain Region for the National Park Service, told the crowd.
Red Bridge Area Plan
A process is now underway to update the Red Bridge Area Plan which was adopted over 45 years ago in 1970.
Area plans recommend future land uses and serve as guides to evaluate proposed developments. They can be useful for neighborhoods in opposing “spot zoning”, but can also aid developers who are proposing projects that are consistent with plan guidelines.
However, plans must be kept up to date to have any credibility, and the City Council must be willing to uphold their recommendations, something that has not always been consistently done.
The Red Bridge area runs roughly from 85th Street to Blue Ridge and from State Line to 71 Highway/I-49. It is one of 18 plan areas in the city.
The first public meeting on the plan will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at Center High School, 8715 Holmes. Additional meetings are planned for August and October, according to Kellie Johnston Dorsey, lead planner for the City Planning & Development Department, who said she hopes to wrap up work on the plan shortly after the holidays.
PIAC Hearings Coming Up
This year’s hearings in south Kansas City by the Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) begin later this month.
PIAC makes recommendations to the City Council, which are almost always followed, for funding for capital improvement projects such as street widening, sidewalks, trails, park shelters and playgrounds and storm drainage improvements.
Funding for these projects comes from a one-cent city sales tax. Information from this summer’s hearings will be used to develop recommendations for funding for the city’s 2017-18 fiscal year which starts May 1, 2017.
The two hearings for neighborhood projects in the 6th Council District will both be from 6 to 8 p.m., with the first on Tuesday, June 21, at Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Road, and the second on Wednesday, July 27, at Country Club Congregational Church, 205 W. 65th Street.
A third hearing for projects of citywide significance will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 24, at Hillcrest Community Center.
Persons may fill out an application to fund a project online by going to kcmo.gov, typing “piac” in the “What are you looking for?” box, clicking on “Public Improvements Advisory Committee” (the first item) and then clicking on “Request Form”. Persons also may request that forms be mailed to them by calling the City Capital Improvements Program at 816-513-8828. The deadline to submit a request is August 31.
I serve on the committee as the appointee of Councilman Kevin McManus, and it is very important for applicants to submit well-researched applications and to bring as many supporters as possible to the hearings to demonstrate support for the requested improvement. There is never nearly enough money to fund all the worthwhile projects.
Art of the Car Concours
Car lovers will have the opportunity to view over 200 historically significant vehicles, including vintage, classic, antique and special interest cars, at the 10th Annual Art of the Car Concours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at the Kansas City Art Institute, 4415 Warwick Boulevard.
This year’s event will feature “Total Performance – Powered by Ford” celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 1-2-3 finish at the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race.
Admission to the event is $20 for adults and free for children 16 and younger. Proceeds benefit the Art Institute scholarship fund, and this year’s event will put the total raised to over $1 million. Persons may visit www.artofthecarconcours.com for more information or to purchase tickets.
John Sharp is a former city council for the 6th District in Kansas City.
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