Leonard Jones Jr. was first elected as Grandview’s mayor in a special election in 2014. A resident for over four decades, Jones immediately set to work on his first project: overhauling the park department—which he says has “revitalized, revamped, and updated” every park in the city.
“We’re fortunate because we actually went to the public with a bond package. So part of the bond package was to make sure that we upgrade the parks. And that bond package passed more than 70 percent. So, therefore, we had the opportunity to upgrade all of our parks and systems, and it has allowed us to do a lot of good things,” Jones said.
Jones has been reelected twice since then. In that period, Grandview’s population has grown for the first time since the 1990 census and surpassed 25,000 residents.
“I think that is the mark for me as mayor—to make sure that Grandview grows to a point where we are at 30,000 strong. That’s gonna be invaluable by itself,” Jones said.
On August 17, Jones oversaw the official groundbreaking process on converting the outer roads along I-49 from a one-way system to the two-way system that had been in place prior to 1980. The project cost $15 million, with all but $3 million coming from outside of the city budget through a combination of MoDot and federal grants.
“All the access roads are going to be phenomenal by themselves and help to bring businesses and people to our city. It has also been fantastic to see Truman Marketplace be revitalized, that has been amazing all by itself,” Jones said.
Another focus of Jones’ administration has been housing availability, with a 2018 housing study guiding the way for several recent developments. Most recently, the Libertad housing development project was struck down at a city alderman vote, 5-2.
“That didn’t pass when we actually had the vote. But they are going back to both the state and the federal government to see if there are any changes that they can make. We’ll hear more from the state and the federal government because of state and federal government tax incentives,” Jones said. “The project was $14 million. As long as we can have a project that’s beneficial to both the city of Grandview and to the developers, then that is called success.”
As the city pursues these developments, Jones says he continues to make all relevant information available on the Grandview website.
“I try to make sure that everybody from residents, to non-residents, and businesses know that—from our budget, to the housing study, to meeting minutes—everything is online intentionally, so that people can go there at their own leisure to determine what they need to look at. Even if they need to renew their driver’s license or license plate, you can go online, you can sign up and get that accomplished,” Jones said.
A new waste-transfer station situated directly across 71 Hwy from the Truman Marketplace has been the most recent development to draw some criticism from residents. Jones, however, believes that the location will benefit the city, which remains without an in-house, city-wide waste management department.
“I am so pleased with what they have done, and the way they have situated that transfer station behind the trees. If you drive by, you don’t even know it’s there. The way they have that set up is going to be very encouraging for the surrounding areas. Right now, my trash guy has to go almost two hours away to deliver. Now he can be much quicker by bringing it to the transfer station and going right back to the neighborhoods,” Jones said.
In the future, among other developments in business, transportation, and in housing availability, Jones does have additional ideas for how to improve the city’s waste management—an area which has drawn complaints from citizens for decades now.
“We as a board have batted ideas around, and have not landed on anything yet, but a citywide pickup is definitely something that we have discussed on a number of occasions,” Jones said.