Category: Missouri

Councilmember Ian Thomas on building a healthy, sustainable Columbia, MO

Columbia, MOColumbia, MO. Photo by Chris Yunker via Flickr.

When Columbia, MO Councilmember Ian Thomas, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, first moved to the United States from his native London in the 1990s, the impact of the built environment on quality of life became abundantly clear. First settling in a suburb of Nashville, TN, Thomas found its car-oriented design limiting to an active, healthy lifestyle and lacking in access for residents to fresh food, safe places for recreation, and accessibility to necessary services.

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More than a year from operation, Kansas City’s Streetcar is already driving investment downtown

Kansas City Streetcar
A rendering of Kansas City’s future streetcar. Image via PlanningKC.

In a sign of things to come for downtown Kansas City, MO, a site along the city’s forthcoming streetcar line is being transformed from a parking lot into a mixed-use development. The developer of Crossroads Apartments, who has never built in Kansas City before, told the Kansas City Star that ”the streetcar is the big thing that drew us, absolutely.”

The Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Project is comprised of a streetcar loop that will mostly run along Main Street in downtown Kansas City, and will link the city’s main entertainment venues with transit centers and arts districts.

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Partnership in the News: Planning for transit-oriented development in St. Louis, MO

Transit-oriented development in St. Louis
St. Louis hopes to spur growth around existing transit hubs including MetroLink stations (pictured above). Photo via OneSTL.

Building near transportation hubs can create vibrant new places to live and work while supporting job growth and economic development. St. Louis, MO is working to use this smart growth strategy, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is helping make their vision a reality.

In 2010 the East-West Gateway Council of Governments was awarded a $4.7 million Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create OneSTL, a regional plan for sustainable development. The St. Louis Development Corporation, CORTEX and the Missouri Botanical Garden also joined the effort with additional funding for the project.

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Blue Springs, MO hosts workshop on sustainable land use code audit

Blue Springs MO

Blue Springs officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on September 19 and 20, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop aimed to provide a “code audit”—a review of development regulations—that will help Blue Springs leaders understand the various smart growth development options available to them, specifically with regard to the Unified Development Code. The City is in the process of updating both the Unified Development Code and Comprehensive Plan.

“The City of Blue Springs is a very fortunate recipient of a Smart Growth America technical assistance grant,” said Blue Springs Director of Community Development Scott Allen. “This code audit will focus on community health, alternative energy codes, and sustainable stormwater infrastructure, and will help Blue Springs move forward with sustainable development alternatives. This technical assistance from Smart Growth America and Cision Associates has come at a most opportune moment for Blue Springs. We are currently updating both the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code, and the knowledge gained from this assistance can be incorporated into both the Plan and Code to move Blue Springs towards a more sustainable development type.”

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Mayor Randy Rhoads and Lee’s Summit, MO: Regional leaders in smart growth

Yesterday we announced the winners of our 2013 Leadership Awards. Mayor Randy Rhoads and Lee’s Summit, MO were one of the winners.

In one Missouri city, a mayor’s leadership has helped foster a culture that values sustainability and public participation, with significant smart growth accomplishments on the ground to show for it.

Lee’s Summit, Missouri is a city of just over 91,000 people located 20 miles from downtown Kansas City. During the last decade, Lee’s Summit experienced rapid growth, with the city’s population swelling by nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2010. This created an emerging sense in the community that property developers – rather than citizens themselves – were charting the course for the future of Lee’s Summit. Development questions were thrust to the forefront of civic conversation as the community grappled with how to grow in a fiscally and environmentally sustainable manner.

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Announcing the winners of Smart Growth America’s 2013 Leadership Awards

Two mayors and one company are being honored this week with national awards for their leadership on better development strategies.

Mayor Randy Rhoads of Lee’s Summit, MO and Mayor Laura McConwell of Mission, KS have been selected to receive Smart Growth America’s 2013 Leadership Awards. They are joined by Progressive Insurance, for its Snapshot pay-as-you-drive auto insurance.

“This year’s award winners are doing remarkable work,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Lee’s Summit and Mission are creating vibrant neighborhoods through strategic policy and investment decisions. Progressive Insurance is an industry leader in recognizing new trends among American drivers. Smart Growth America is proud to honor them with this year’s Leadership Awards.”

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Partnership in the News: Granite City grantees turn to public for planning ideas

On Thursday, August 9, the St. Louis Regional Sustainable Communities effort met with local citizens to get ideas for what kind of projects would best serve the Granite City-Madison-Venice Tri-City area. It was the second of four meetings intended to plan out future projects.

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Economic growth through transit-oriented development in Kansas City

As Kansas City prepares for a special election on a proposed downtown streetcar line, KCPT and the Mid-America Regional Council‘s Imagine KC series examines the impact of transit-oriented development on Kansas City’s metro. KCPT’s Randy Mason and LOCUS President Chris Leinberger toured some of Kansas City’s streetscape along the proposed line, and discussed the commerce and development streetcar proponents predict will follow.

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