Monday, June 16, 2008
Sometimes the news around town gets so . . . confused, so . . . distorted, that it is a very good idea to take a reality check so that decisions are not made based upon faulty information. For instance, while attending Raytown’s Annual Barbeque event I was told that the Raytown Round-Up Days Parade would probably not be held this year because of anticipated construction on the 63rd Street Bridge. When it was pointed out that the bridge project has been put on hold because of legal matters between the Union Pacific Railroad, Raytown Water Company and the telephone companies – a new excuse was made. The new excuse was that the old First Baptist Church would be in process of being torn down. So that you know, the decision to put the bridge on hold has already been made. City Administrator Mahesh Sharma reported to the Board of Aldermen at a recent retreat. Instead, the city is going to pursue building another “gateway” at the Gregory Boulevard and Raytown Road intersection. As for the Old First Baptist Church being torn down. Even if it is in the process of being demolished during the parade, it would be an improvement over the boarded up wreck that stands there now. In fact, it could be looked upon as a positive sign of progress for Downtown Raytown. So, a note to the Chamber of Commerce. If you are sincere about bringing back Downtown Raytown and instilling pride in this community DO NOT do away with the Round-Up Days Parade. It is a popular event that should be continued. Speaking of the Old First Baptist Church . . . As some noted on this blog, the city’s paid for supplement in the Kansas City Star was more like a trip down memory lane than a forward looking issue. Let’s be real, using an old photograph of the Old First Baptist Church in a better light is not a good idea. Let’s say a developer decides to visit the area based on those pictures, the minute the reality is viewed, an early exit from the city is guaranteed. Whoever came up with that idea should not be allowed to have anything to do with print advertising, newsletters, or any role that deals with honesty and disseminating information to the public. Back to the Barbeque . . . not as big as previous events, not very crowded, but enjoyable. In visiting the different vendors, churches and civic organizations that had set up shop, I was very impressed with the desire for Raytown to make a come back. The determination demonstrated at the barbeque tells me it will. The Downtown Raytown Redevelopment crowd had an impressive display and some very knowledgeable people working their booth. I learned that a new restaurant will soon be opening at the old Raytown Plaza. Most refreshing was the recognition by the people at the booth that the scorched earth policy of tearing everything down to revitalize the Downtown is not the only path to go. They are on the mark. A development that mixes the old with the new is how you rebuild a commercial area that has staying power. The police dunking tank (I am told) was a popular event. I noticed the pens that were being handed out that had the current Chief of Police name on it. The position is still an elected one. Such giveaways smack of political freebies and should no be paid by the taxpayer’s dollars. Imagine the uproar if the Board of Aldermen were handing out pens (paid for at city expense) with their names on it. Finally . . . I have to recognize my old seatmates on the Raytown Board of Aldermen, Jerry and Jeff Kinman and their rock and roll band. They have improved greatly since the last time I heard them. I would wager that Jerry’s voice is hoarse this morning and Jeff’s continual drumming has surely left him with sore if not fatigued arms and legs.