Mayor Powell Delivers State of the City in Video Address

See this video and more on the Excelsior Citizen YouTube Channel.

Mayor Sharon Powell took time to record her State of City Address which she had shared at the Clay County Economic Development Council’s annual State of the Cities luncheon held on Thursday, July 14, at Harrah’s casino.

A transcript of Mayor Powell’s address:

Growing our Economy:

We are proud to say that one of our local families has excelled in their business, and shared their success with the community by building a new, state-of-the-art building.  Miller Cabinet celebrated their grand opening in October.  BTW, they were awarded the Keystone Award last December).   Their investment enabled the city to leverage $1 Million in grants to not only improve the roadway access to their new plant but fix an intersection that has been a problem since it was built.  Their old building will be repurposed to accommodate an Apparel Manufacturer.   This business is new to the city. 

The Elms Hotel & Spa, now under the Hyatt management just completed a $2 Million investment with improvements to common spaces.  When you visit the Elms, you will see a remodeled Restaurant.  A Coffee Shop by day & a Wine Bar by night has been added to the Lobby.  Event spaces, carpeting, lighting, and furniture can be seen remodeled throughout.  Along with a refresh to all the rooms.

Our Downtown continues to attract new investment –in part due to intelligent marketing strategies and good Old Fashioned Hard Work.  We host over 100 event days per year.   Thank you to Downtown Excelsior Partnership (DEP) for your continued efforts in this area.  The uses of 353s has been a great tool to help incentivize property investment and has been a factor in the elimination of blighting influences.  We have approved 20      353 projects.   The most recent include Casa di Vite— a Wine Bar and Event Venue and Pairings by Van Till an Event Venue and Wine Bar with small plates that has quickly become a local favorite destination for friends to gather over good wine and delicious food.  These properties really fit our spirit to have fun in awesome places with new and old friends.  Please come visit us soon. Commercial development represents $20 Million in. investments last year.

Growing Our Community:

This year’s residential seller’s market had several developers scrambling to get new housing product built to help ease the housing market.  Just this year, we had more than 25 new housing permits.  They are planning new subdivisions and building on infill lots.

New Community Assets:

The Park Foundation raised $80K over the past 4 years as match a for an LWCF Grant plus $150K from Capital Improvements Sales Tax to convert an old-fashioned neighborhood pool into a brand-new Splash Park.  This not only eliminated a blighting influence, but it created a great new park (free) to be enjoyed by our youngest residents.  Rainbow Splash Park is in full operation this summer and is already a family favorite. Last year, we elected to refinance our community center bonds which provided enough financing to build Phase 2 at our Community Center.  Phase 2 will be an 8-lane competition-style pool that will open in late 2023.  The pool will have a removable dome that will support pool use year-round.

We want to thank the Clay County Commission.   They approved an allocation of ARPA funds to move the storm drainage for the Community Center to Century Park Pond located just south of the Community Center.  This allows the campus to expand so the pool can be located onsite.  Improvements in the pond will also help relieve downstream flooding in area neighborhoods.

Improving our Community: 

The City received a Saving America’s Treasures grant providing $1M to address structural issues in the Hall of Waters.  The Hall of Waters is the centerpiece of our tourism industry and the location for many community celebrations.  We look forward to completing these important improvements.  We just completed a grant-funded second digester at our Wastewater Treatment Plant, providing much-needed redundancy in the treatment train. Additionally, Clay County provided ARPA funds to enable us to complete a much-needed Watershed study of the Fishing River which is the source of repeated flooding in our downtown.  The study is in the early stages, but so far we have completed a computer model of the watershed, so we can begin to see what projects could be built to ease the impacts of flooding.

We are proud to have received the GOLD LEVEL for Communities for All Ages—a strategy for community improvement promoted by MARC. Additionally, Excelsior Springs is the first city in the nation to receive SILVER RECOGNITION through the Communities of Excellence 26 Assessment and Recognition Program.  This is the highest level of recognition currently awarded through the program.  The effort to receive this recognition was led by Thrive Excelsior, a community coalition seeking to increase the quality of life and the life span of residents in Excelsior Springs.  We have been participating in this program for the last 3 years using the Baldridge Framework for Community Leadership. A National Learning Collaborative.  The Community of Excellence Program is currently in consideration for the 7th category of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award designated by Congress and coordinated through the US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.  We made an intentional choice to pursue this work.  It is the difference between— Putting out fires or preventing them.

Taking Care of Business:

Our continued work with KC-ADC, Clay County EDC, and other Clay County Communities provides an opportunity to receive confidential leads for business expansion.

We completed a Compensation Study earlier this year.  Using these results we have achieved market rate salaries for our personnel.We are pleased to continue working with AMEREN and ENEL in a program that pays us to take our water and wastewater treatment plants off the grid during peak energy days.  Thank you, Ameren for the opportunity to make money and ease the energy demand when needed.

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