ExSpgs Flooding

2021 Excelsior Springs Year in Review

The last year has been a little strange, as we have navigated the world around us with constant reminders of a virus that has changed what we knew as normal. We have been fortunate in Excelsior Springs to have a hotel that has remained open, bringing tourists to town to participate in our events and shop in our boutiques, keeping our local economy on track. There’s no denying the amount of loss and pain that the virus has brought to our citizens, though. Despite these challenges, there were some really amazing citizens doing wonderful things for each other and the community. Here’s a summary of some of our biggest moments and a wish for a very happy new year!

January

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• Jody and Linda Pasalich purchased the building next to the Hall of Waters on Broadway, opening the Other Trails coffeeshop and an Air B&B above!
• A video that citizen S. Jason Cole produced of sledders on Sunny Side Hill got picked up by Good Morning America!
• Sincerely Jones opens in the downtown on Thompson Avenue
• Price Chopper begins renovation of the store
• Wabash BBQ is featured on the show “Man’s Greatest Food” on the Cooking Channel!
• Rule changes to the Crown Hill Cemetery and Hillcrest Cemetery
• Vaccination sign ups begin for the Covid vaccine

Issues: | January 10 | January 17 | January 24 | January 31

February

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• Excelsior Springs Hospital conducted a Covid vaccine clinic with a donation of 240 doses gifted by North Kansas City Hospital.
• The Excelsior Springs Memorial Airport awarded pilot licenses to Morgan Atkinson, Molli Atkinson, and Trent Adams
• Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and then fiancee Brittany stayed at The Elms Hotel and Spa for a getaway
• Boy Scout Troop 313’s Landen Summers completed his Eagle Scout project by adding a “Blessing Box” food pantry at the Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church across from the high school
• The City of Excelsior Springs surveyed the community regarding Safe Streets and Sidewalks in continued efforts to seek funding needed to create safe paths to school and the business community
• Excelsior Springs Parks and Recreation conducted a survey and released a 5 year plan for Department priorities
• The Elms Hotel and Spa begins renovations to their lobby in the just a beginning to the overall work that will be done
• The Downtown Excelsior Partnership announces that there are 78 businesses downtown currently

Issues: February 7 | February 14 | February 21 |

March

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• Dari-B Ice Cream opened their season accepting credit/debit cards for the first time
• Jessecah Jennings opens Restorative Techniques Massage Therapy in shared space with First Resort Chiropractic
• Local artist Denice Belcher opens Studio 108 downtown on Broadway
• ESHS Tiger Wrestlers advance to state tournaments, including state champions Ayden Dolt, Cooper Collins, and Ryne Marcum
• The Museum opens with new displays and a new World War II exhibition room
• Rapper Joey Cool staged a music video shoot inside Ray’s Lunch
• Excelsior Springs School District receives over $25,000 in energy incentives
• The ReeceNichols Teams challenged the community to do a community clean up that had citizens picking up trash all over town
• Eagles were sighted all over town
• Parks and Recreation Coach Russell Wenz was chosen by the Missouri Park and Recreation Association as the 2021 Sports Outstanding Volunteer Coach
• The Excelsior Springs Area Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Dinner after having a year’s worth of cancelled activities
• ES Fire Chief Joe Maddick sought American Heart Association designation, allowing the Fire Station to become a training site for CPR classes again
• DEP held their Sippin’ Into Springtime, which made March the month when we saw local nonprofits fundraisers return
• ESHS and ESMS students begin attending school 4 days a week

Issues: | | |

April

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• The Museum opens a traveling exhibit regarding Missouri’s Struggle for Statehood
• Wabash BBQ is recognized by the Rural Missouri magazine as the best barbecue in the state
• Jones Custom Auto’s Chris Jones’ was featured on television for his airbrushing techniques
• Stephen Spear and Mayor Pro Tem Sonya Morgan were elected to the City Council
• Zedena Smithmier announces she will be giving tours of the downtown to educate others on the history here
• Shriti Plimpton owner of Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery were featured in a St. Louis news article and featured in Missouri Life
• Molly Roberts Studio moves east on Broadway to a new shop spot next to Campbell’s Wood Designs and Willow Spring Mercantile
• The Chamber brings a Carnival to town
• After 50 years, Wicker Furniture announces a store closing sale for Steve’s retirement
• Thrive Excelsior launches Curb Appeal Award, recognizing citizens who have improved their properties recently

Issues: April 4 | April 11 | April 18 | April 25

May

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• Chief Financial Officer Cameron Meyer of the Excelsior Springs Hospital is recognized for his work in bringing the hospital back to black from the red, saving the hospital millions of dollars
• Casa di Vite announces construction that is underway on the old Hope Funeral Home. They will use the space as a wine bar.
• ESHS Alumnus Sam Webb is offered the choice by the NFL to be drafted. Webb chose to stay in school for another year but has a bright future
• ESHS Tiger Soccer player Ethan Edwards was named to the 1st Team All-Conference; 1st Team All-district, All-Region; 1st Team All-State; and 1st Team All-KC Metro teams, which has only happened once before in program history
• Slightly Off Broadway community theatre held a musical “All Shook Up: The Music of 1957”
• ESHS Tiger Soccer held a Youth Night open to all kids in the community, which drew over 60 youth
• ESHS seniors have an outside graduation at Tiger Stadium
• Mask mandates are lifted for Clay County
• Wabash Blues Garden announces they won’t be having any summer shows due to a shortage in staff
• The Clay Ray Vets held their annual Memorial Day service on Veterans Memorial Drive
• The Excelsior Springs Senior Center reopens with new fitness activities
• Broadway Toyz closes

Issues: | May 9 | May 16 | May 23 | May 30

June

Photo by Kevin Morgan, sunset sky thick with smoke from the west

• The Excelsior Springs Health Care Foundation held a golf tournament featuring a new Golf Ball Drop fundraiser included
• Watkins Mill State Historic Site opens 7 days a week again with limited tours
• Diggers Liquidation closes
• High winds and possible tornado swept through the town, toppling trees and limbs, while also taking out electricity to all grocery stores and 8,000 homes for over 48 hours. 157 electrical workers worked 30 hour shifts to get power restored
• Flash flooding in the downtown left some citizens in need of rescue and caused major damage to the Elms Hotel and Spa’s inside pool. Damage also closed Regent Bridge when it was submerged in flood waters
• Despite the heavy storm, the Downtown Excelsior Partnership was still able to have their 15th annual Wine Festival
• BluBox Boutique moved from Marietta Street to Broadway, in Broadway Toyz old spot
• The ES Community Center board begins discussions for expansion to the Center, including another pool (competition level) that will be covered for use any day of the year
• City hosts a Safe Streets and Sidewalks Listening Session at the ES Community Center
• With the threat of severe weather, the Waterfest committee was forced to cancel the festival, including fireworks
• The Opal Wapoo Gravel Experience worked quick to change their route when flooding jeopardized the race and continue their race as planned
• Businesses begin announcing changing hours, with more of a return for in person dining

Issues: | June 13 | June 20 | June 27

July

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• ESMS 7th Grade ELA Teacher Gina Calvin won the Regional Teacher of the Year award by DESE
• ES Animal Clinic moves to new location where Annie’s Furniture once was
• Nance’s Auto closes and mechanics move to Rite-Way Auto
• The pool at the Excelsior Springs Community Center had to close due to system being struck by lighting
• With a partial collapse of the east side of the Royal Hotel, the entire east building had to be demolished
• City begins overlay of Dunbar and West Jesse James road
• ES Police Chief Clint Reno and Lt. Paul White celebrate their retirements
• Over 80 ES High School and Middle School football players came together to tackle community projects during their summer football camp
• New Age Skincare and Spa expands west of their shop into the space that was The Farmhouse before

Issues: July 4 | July 11 | July 18 | July 25

August

Photo by S. Jason Cole

• Salvation Army offered a “Loaded Backpack Fair” for students in need returning to school
• Youth bowlers of Tiger Bowl compete in the Junior Gold National Bowling Tournament in Indianapolis
• The Excelsior Citizen begins offering livestreamed meetings for both City Council and School Board
• Ray Yates surprises the Fire Department with a Traeger grill for the station, sparking citizen stories of ESFD rescues
• The City announces structural damage on the Hall of Waters and closes portions of the Hall until repairs can be made
• Two parties were arrested for beating a local man with a baseball bat that left the man in critical condition
• The ES Parks Foundation was finally able to open the Rainbow Splash Park after material shortages delayed parking lot from being made
• ES School District announces all students school lunches will be covered for the year
• ES School District announces new superintendent, Dr. Travis Hux
• The ES Museum and Archives celebrated Missouri’s 200th Anniversary with showcases of Missouri and Clay County history
• BBQ & Fly-In on the River held their 21st BBQ competition at the ES Memorial Airport
• Nationwide shortages start impacting local businesses directly
• Due to an increase in Covid cases, the ES Hospital begins operating drive thru testing
• Herradura Mexican Restaurant downtown closes
• ES School District offers an Open House for Cornerstone Elementary
• Terrible accident on Seybold Road takes a child’s life and leaves others on life support
• ES Fire Department begins offering CPR & AED training
• The Early Childhood Center offers an Open House in the space that was formerly Westview Elementary

Issues: August 1 | August 8 | | | August 29

September

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• ES Area Career Electrical Trades students helped a local disabled citizen move out of their house
• Griffey Insurance Agency sponsors the Excelsior Springs City-Wide Garage Sale
• City begins Neighbors Helping Neighbors program assisting citizens with volunteers to help with property cleanup
• Scheier Family Medicine announces move to the old ES Family Dentistry office
• ES Fire Department offers car seat checks
• Bill Hightower Team and Halberstadt Homes ReeceNichols teams up with Chiefs to fundraise for needy families
• The Downtown Excelsior Partnership celebrated their 15th year anniversary with a dinner in the Hall of Waters Circle Drive
• ES School District announces school enrollment up 8% this year
• Rose Winter becomes Excelsior’s newest author, at only age 10
• ES Hospital begins Covid testing drive through site on weekdays at their campus
• Downtown Excelsior Partnership celebrated their Oktoberfest Fall Festival
• Kansas City Cannabis opened a marijuana dispensary in town
• VFW hosts annual Car Show

Issues: | | September 19 | September 26

October

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• Muffin Top Bakery celebrates their first year in business
• Regent Bridge is reopened after flooding in June left it closed for state inspection
• The Excelsior Springs Cultural Guild hosted a “Monster Ball” dance at The Elms Hotel & Spa in support of student art scholarships
• Monroe Pharmacy closes after 40+ years after being purchased by Walgreens
• ESHS Tigers celebrate Homecoming, with a return to some of our rituals and traditions
• MCPL partners with Unified Esports Association to launch an online eSports classes for teens
• Then owner Brenda Fudge of Ray’s Diner (Lunch) announced that the restaurant had sold to Morgan Newkirk and Dan Tota from Colorado (who have agreed to keeping it the same way we all love!)
• Local businesses showcased Excelsior Springs 4-H Club’s award-winning projects
• ES Museum and Archives holds their Annual Rummage Sale, that was the biggest and best yet
• Halloween and trick or treat activities resumed this year for kids and families
• Tiger Bowl hosts Heart of America Junior Classic bowling tournament, which draws participants as far away as Nebraska

Issues: October 3 | October 10 | October 17 | October 31

November

Photo by Kevin Morgan

• ESHS Tiger Soccer team became Class 2 District 6 Champs and then go on to win 3rd Place at State Competition
• ESHS Tiger Football team won their District Quarterfinals game
• Golf Garage opens on Kansas City Avenue in the downtown, offering golf practice and instruction
• ESHS Theatre presented the musical Little Shop of Horrors
• Mugg’s Diner closes
• Friends of the Wells launches effort to raise $15,000 and get our mineral water wells retested as first step toward return of our rare waters
• Students at Lewis Elementary send a banner with handprints saying “Thank you for giving a helping hand” to the local Clay Ray Veterans Club in recognition of their sacrifices in serving
• Wine and Shine Tasting Room opens in the downtown
• Christmas Committee holds annual Christmas kickoff with a full parade and activities planned for families
• Inside Out Escape Entertainment announces construction of a new space in Crown Hill Plaza Shopping Center (old My Fair Lady spot) where they will have escape rooms
• Cancerkickers annual Breakfast with Santa was unable to take place due to Covid resurgence
• Slightly Off Broadway performed a Christmas show for the holiday season

Issues: November 7 | November 14 | November 21 | November 28

December

Photo by Courtney S. Cole

• The Holiday Homes Tour featured five local families homes that were beautifully decorated for the holidays
• The Annual Mineral Water Bowl game was cancelled this year due to Covid
• Fowler’s Fine Furniture will be opening a new location in Excelsior Springs where Goody’s was previous in Crown Hill Plaza
• ES Fire Department was featured on KSHB Fox 41 News for their “Season of Hope” toy drive
• Clay County Sheriff’s office holds Community Drug Education Summit amid high fatal and near-fatal overdoses
• Mid-Continent Public Library announces grant funding allowing the library to lend laptops and hotspots to people
• ESHS Tiger Cheerleaders take 3rd Place at State Competition
• New Dollar General store breaks ground near Casey’s General Store
• ESHS Senior Tyler Rumore takes 4th Chair Trumpet at the Missouri State Competition
• Citizen Kenny Slavens, Sr. took to the streets on his motorcycle where he drove from neighborhood to neighborhood waving at citizens while dressed from head to toe in a Grinch costume, giving citizens something to collectively smile about
• Elms Hotel and Spa Manager John Mormino announces $4 million worth of renovations to take place over the next 4 months at the hotel
• Local veteran Chris Ruggles was featured in Outdoor Life magazine for his amazing skills using a mouth-held shooting bow, killing an 8-point Missouri buck
• Excelsior Springs Hospital CEO Kristen DeHart is interviewed on the news regarding the uptick in cases of covid in the area
• Go Car Wash put up a banner stating there would be a new facility opening in the Summer of 2022 in the lot next to McDonald’s
• The Mug Coffeehouse and Excelsior Roasting Company sold to citizens Josh and Jen Reynolds

Issues: December 5 | December 12 | December 19 | December 26


We keep the local news free thanks to advertisers and individual contributions!

Thanks to our Founding Sponsors

News for and About Excelsior Springs!

Get the Excelsior Citizen e-newsletter delivered straight to your inbox each week. It’s a collection of the best news and events all focused exclusively on Excelsior Springs. No fluff just local news and information you can trust!

Free Newsletter Signup