Martin City CID Director Moves On
By Kathy Feist
On March 1, Missy Wilson left the full time position as Executive Director of Martin City’s Community Improvement District (CID) to become the Economic Development Administrator for the City of Raytown.
“That was the worst possible news,” laments Debbie VanNoy, president of the CID. “She’s done a lot for Martin City. She makes us look good.”
Wilson was hired part time in 2011 by then CID Director Barb Engel to pursue funding for the 135th Street Improvements.
Prior to that she had a long list of accomplishments, including negotiating property acquisitions for the Entertainment District (now the Power & Light District) and helping with the financial package for the IRS Complex at Union Station, both while working for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. She had managed 32 different tax programs for the Missouri Economic Development Corporation in Jefferson City.
In 2013, when Engel retired, Wilson took over the position of executive director full time. She oversaw the completion of Phases I and II of the 135th Street Improvements, which involved replacing the water mains, repaving the road, landscaping, and putting in sidewalks. As director, she took on a role similar to that of city administrator, working with businesses, promoting the area, planning parades and events, pursuing funding.
“Missy is very organized,” says VanNoy. “She is strictly by the book. We always knew she would get the project done exactly the way the CID wanted it done.”
Wilson says she cannot take credit for any accomplishments experienced by Martin City. “This community has been working on this for a long time,” she says. “They’ve all been doing the heavy lifting. I just got behind it and pushed it a little harder down the road.”
That road work—both figuratively and literally—garnered a prestigious Cornerstone Award and People’s Choice Award from the Economic Development Corporation in 2016. Winning the People’s Choice Award, which involved public voting, was one of the highlights of her career here.
“Watching Debbie ]VanNoy] and Curtis’ [Stroud’s] reactions to the win” was “priceless,” she said. The streetcar was the expected winner.
Wilson believes that the award has been a nice complement to the road improvements in terms of attracting business. She says in one year alone (2016) the business sector has attracted over $20 million worth in investments and over a thousand employees. Not bad for a 300-acre community.
“This area is ready to attract more offices and more cultural opportunities,” she says. “We’ve been very careful that there hasn’t been a fly by night or a big box. For our Main Street, we really like the Mom and Pop local businesses.”
Wilson is very proud of the involvement the businesses have taken with the Grandview Schools, Martin City Elementary and Middle School in particular. “The education system needs to be supported by the business community,” she says. She hopes the next administrator will continue to grow that commitment.
To her successor she recommends thinking outside the box. “For any community to really attract businesses they must complement other existing businesses,” she says. To make that work, it pays being adaptive to new available programs, especially those dealing with financing.
This word of advice might prove important if funding for infrastructure isn’t supported by voters on the April 4 ballot. If it does not pass, Phase III of the 135th Street Improvement Plan may take a long time before it nears completion.
In the meantime, Wilson continues to work with the Martin City CID in her spare time organizing the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade while working full time with the City of Raytown. “She’s always given 110%,” says VanNoy.