Sunday, August 30, 2015


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Brewer and Shipley 
Headline Music Festival  
A good sized crowd of fans turned out to enjoy a performance by Brewer and Shipley at the annual Raytown Arts and Music Festival held at Kenagy Park this past Saturday. Comfortable temperatures and cloudy skies made for a perfect evening to visit with old friends, enjoy the free music and shop for products offered for sale by local artists.

Shepherd Center /
Yarco Development Proposal BY PAUL LIVIUS AND GREG WALTERS
Kristina Peters, the Executive Director of Shepherd’s Center, presented a proposal to develop the open area in Downtown Raytown known as the Green Space. The proposal, made in conjunction with a national development firmed named Yarco, calls for the construction of 100 “affordable senior housing units”.

We always love the adjectives used by those who make these proposals. In this case, the word, “affordable” pretty much depends on your definition of affordable.

So we checked out Yarco website. The pictures shown on the company website resemble multi-family housing very much like those built at Elliott Place in Raytown. The drawing presented to Board of Aldermen was more along the line of urban townhomes. Block structure, four stories tall, more in line with building in the Crossroads District just south of Downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

The 108 units would also have retail space built along with it. One-third of the Green Space would remain for public use, probably as a small park.

One thing we did notice, Yarco did not have is a presence of enemies on the internet telling what terrible landlords they are. It is a welcome relief. Past proposals before the Raytown seemed to attract developers with a checkered past – usually with plenty of interesting horror stories from past tenants painting them as bad landlords.

Greg and I had quite a discussion about the proposal. Yarco appears to be a reputable development firm and therefore deserves to have their plan considered. The local partner, Shepherd’s Center, also has a good reputation in Raytown.

But there are stumbling blocks.

The foremost being that the proposal asks the land be given to them by the city. Two of the Board members specifically said “no” to that idea. Janet Emerson and Bill VanBuskirk were very clear in their belief the taxpayers would not be served best by the elected officials giving away premier land space in Downtown Raytown valued between $500,000 and $750,000.

We agree. The city should not give tax payer property away. The money earned here would go a long way to pay for much needed street repair and new street lights desperately need in our neighborhoods.

Is Senior Housing the Right Path for Raytown?
What we find bothersome is a recycling theme of building housing described as “affordable”, “entry level”, and so forth. You cannot help but get the feeling the target is to attract a tier in the market place that is one step above section eight housing. Not really a formula for success.

Our city leaders should sit down with the good folks from Shepherd Center and Yarco and explain the city is not in business of giving away its assets. The city should be in the business of trying to bring a little more upscale housing to the area.

Raytown’s median age is 55 years. How about developing a plan to attract a younger generation to the area? It is has worked in other parts of Kansas City like Waldo, around the Westport area, up by the River at the City Market and in the Crossroads District.

Each of those areas has made a notable comeback in the past 20 years. Each of them took a different path to be turned around, but the fact is they did get turned around.

I can remember when Wesport’s biggest draw was that it did not cost much to have a good time. The City Market was unsafe after dark and the Crossroads was an economic dessert. Take a drive through the Waldo neighborhoods. Twenty-five years ago the area was in decline. Now you see house after house that has been rehabilitated and upgraded by private owners.

And here is a secret most people are not aware of . . . most of those areas did so without a huge influx of taxpayer dollars. It would be more accurate to say that developers and individuals saw an opportunity and took advantage of depressed real estate prices.

The same renaissance can happen in Raytown.  It takes time and patience. It also takes a degree of planning by looking to the future. City leaders should city down with Yarco and the Shepherd Center and see if their vision for Raytown’s future is a match.

The Rest of the Story
I read in Randy Battagler’s Raytown Times his report about the Shepherd Center / Yarco story.

Randy reminisced in the story about a $650,000 proposal from Walmart to build a large box store on the Green Space.

He wrote, “Although the Board of Aldermen supported the idea, Wal-Mart pulled its proposal after it became the focus of controversy among townsfolk.

That is an interesting spin . . . here is how I remember it.

The Planning and Zoning Commission voted to deny the applicant (Walmart). The majority of the Board voted, by a split vote of six to four, to approve the application.

Walmart pulled out of the development one day before a deadline to pay a $50,000 deposit on the deal.

At the time there was an impending lawsuit challenging the zoning of the applicant spearheaded by former Mayor Sue Frank.

Now you know the rest of the story! 

Why I Stopped 
Being a “Vegetarian” 
Dave Smith, today’s contributor for Guest Bloggers’ Week, has been a professional fitness and weight-loss coach since 2001 and was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. He specializes in holistic weight-loss rooted in clean eating, daily movement, group accountability and ongoing peer support. His motto is “Strive for progress, not perfection” and his goal is long-term change, not quick fixes. You can learn more about his healthy living and weight-loss programs at and do some of his free core workouts here. READ MORE

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Josh said...

Greg - in your rest of the store article, you forgot about us. We're the hundreds of people that went to the Zoning and Planning meeting and both Board of Aldermen meetings to say we didn't want the new Walmart store.

We're the ones that went out and worked hard to defeat the aldermen that voted for the new store. We're the ones that will go out in two years and work to defeat the rest of the Board that voted for the new store.

We will not be silenced!

Anonymous said...

Josh, you are so right.

Raytown Newbie said...

I have shopped at the new Walmart neighborhood market on Noland Road next to Truman High School. It's a nice store. Not too sure why there was such a fuss over locating one on the square here. I was in favor of it. I would rather see something there paying it's own way than potentially a subsidized old folks home or apartments. Maybe the traffic it would have created would have actually helped some of the downtown businesses. I wonder if any of the people who opposed the Walmart location here have stopped by the Noland Road store.

Anonymous said...

Dear Raytown Newbie: Since you are new to Raytown you maybe do not understand that all the tax revenue collected is in essence used to pay of the cost of the building that Raytown is liable for. That is the best way I can describe it. If they would have opened a grocery here they would have requested and probably received tax abatement. Wal-Mart makes hundreds of million of dollars of profit and they expect the cities to build their buildings and parking lots. The city never receives all the tax revenue. Maybe we would have better streets to drive on if Raytown could collect all the taxes and use them for the taxpayers benefit.

There are people that can probably explain the tax situation better than I.

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading the talkiing points about tomorrow nights work session at city hall. Unbelievable!!! Someone is actually arguing in favor of continuing to break the promise to the voters that half of the 1/8 cent sales tax will go to fix storm water runoff problems in Raytown. The weak minded will fall for this ploy by what is undoubtedly coming from somewhere in the parks department.

The reality is that for five years the parks department took money that was promised to the voters to be used on storm water projects. It all went parks!!! Do you really believe the parks department folks did not know they were literally stealing money from the its intended use for their own agenda.

The city council should unify and say NO, we are not going to endorse promising the taxpayers one thing and then taking it away from them for five years.

There is a reason David Bower did not run for re-election. Just as there were incumbent aldermen who did not run. They saw the writing on the wall. The people in Raytown are fed up with politicians who break their word and promises.

Let's hope this bunch is better than what we just threw out of office.

Greg Walters said...

Mea Culpa!

A recent blog on this page reminded me that my "Rest of the Story" article fell short in giving a recount of the failed Downtown Walmart debacle a couple of summers back. the writer reminded readers a good deal of credit goes to the hundreds of people who attended the Planning and Zoning Meetings and the Board of Aldermen meeting to voice their opposition to the development.

All I can say to that writer is, "you are so right!'

There were literally hundreds who did attend the Planning and Zoning and Board of Aldermen meetings before those crucial votes were taken. No doubt what the public had to say had an impact. The P and Z Commission recommended to turn down the proposal. Four of the ten Aldermen did the same.

I can honestly say that in my 27 years on the Raytown City Council I never witnessed such an outpouring of public interest in a single issue. I attended all the meetings. The Council Chambers was always crowded during the meetings. The last two sessions before the Board of Aldermen's final vote had such large crowds that people were being turned away from the meeting because there simply was no more room.

It made me proud to be part of a community where people showed they cared enough about their city to stand up and speak out.

Raytown Newbie said...

Hello Anonymous @ 9:20 PM, I think your reference to the tax abatement issue applies to the existing Walmart deal, which everyone sees as bad for the city. But the new Walmart store and the site improvements were to be paid for by Walmart. The sales tax revenues created would have gone to the city... no tax abatement involved for the new store. As far as I know the only money spent for the failed Walmart downtown location, was for thousands of dollars spent by the Raytown Water Company to upgrade the downtown water mains and services. This unfortunately for its customers no doubt ended up being paid for by them and is likely one of the reasons for the recent application for a rate increase.

Still haven't heard any specific reason the store was so bitterly opposed. The one that comes to mind is highly emotional but lacks any valid reasoning ( to me anyway)..... SAVE DOWNTOWN RAYTOWN

Well, anyway, now that the downtown has been saved... now what??

BTW.... Big Kudos to the Sue Frank Insurance Agency for the nice work on their building.

Anonymous said...

The Walmart Grocery Store that was withdrawn from Raytown would have been located in the middle of tax abatemetn district. It was not discussed much during the hearings. But it certainly was there and available to the retail giant for the taking. That type of tax abatement, it was on property tax, did not have to be included in the zoning application. It can be made at a later date.

Why do people not like Walmart? There are plenty of reasons too lengthy to go into here but the reason that strikes home for me can be found at Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch. Here is a glimpse of what you will learn.

Wal-Mart Subsidy Report for Missouri

Subsidies received by Wal-Mart
There are no centralized databases of economic development subsidies, but Good Jobs First found 23 deals worth a total of about $90.7 million in Missouri. They include the following:

Good Jobs First has compiled data on Wal-Mart subsidies in the following cities
Branson, MO : estimated $12.125 million
Cameron, MO : $2.1 million
Chesterfield, MO : about $2.6 million
Clayton, MO : $4.175 million
DeSoto, MO : approximately $1 million
Eureka, MO : $5.3 million
Fenton, MO : $10 million
Hannibal, MO : $2.115 million
Harrisonville, MO : more than $2.6 million
Kansas City (Blue Ridge Mall), MO : $26.75 million
Kansas City (N Boardwalk Ave), MO : $9.1 million
Kirkwood (St. Louis), MO : $5.7 million
Lee's Summit, MO : $2.7 million
Mexico, MO : $500,000
Moberly, MO : more than $1.65 million
Monett, MO : $1.75 million
Ozark, MO : $3.5 million
Raytown, MO : at least $4 million
Republic, MO : $500,000
Sikeston (Bloomfield), MO : $865,000
St. James, MO : more than $1.6 million
Wentzville, MO : $7.5 million
West Plains, MO : $250,000

Hidden taxpayer costs
Many Wal-Mart workers are ineligible for health coverage from their employer or choose not to purchase what is available, because it is too expensive or too limited in scope. These workers often turn to taxpayer-funded health programs such as Medicaid. Missouri is among those states that have not disclosed data on the employers with the most workers or their dependents enrolled in such programs.

For an estimate of how much Wal-Mart is costing the state of MO for taxpayer-funded healthcare, see
Property Tax Appeals

Anonymous said...

Keep you fingers crossed. For those of you how have been around Raytown for many years the last murderer of Ann Harris is set to be executed at 6:00 pm today. It comes 25 years too late. He have been paying to keep this man alive far too long. Thoughts and prayer to the family of Ms. Harris

Anonymous said...

Many school district employees are ineligable for Heath insurance or choose not to take it. Many company workers at many places are the same way; it is not just Walmart employees.

Anonymous said...

I hear the Raytwon City Council held their own Tuesday night and told the Park Board they have to abide and keep the promises made to the voters and taxpayers of Raytown for the 1/8 cent sales tax. Good for them. After eight years of virtually one man rule it is high time we had some leadership from the City Counci.

Anonymous said...

HyVee has limited most of their employees to less than 30 hours to avoid paying for health benefits. Is HyVee evil also, or is it just Walmart?

Anonymous said...

Blame Obama Care insurance it set the limit that you would not have to provide health insurance if you paid for less than 30 hours the rule has always been for sensible people that 40 hours was a normal work week. They have made it so that employers now have a federal out.

To answer your question all companies are watching their profit margin as you would if you have a company to run. Wal-Mart has believed in the short work week for a long time to keep profits high.

You now see a lot of workers with two part time jobs each paying for 30 hours or less.

Anonymous said...

Lots of companies limit hours under 30 to avoid health insurance premiums . Medical premiums for employer and employees have gone up and benefits gone down. God love Obamacare

Anonymous said...

Just Walmart. Walmart is considered "evil" because they are non-union (than again so is HyVee I think), and because they are so large.

Anonymous said...

Lots of companies have cut hours to avoid paying the high cost of insurance. The cost to employers and employee has gone up and benefits gone down. God love Obamacare

Pat Casady said...

One of the reasons WalMart is so hated other than
the way they treat the women employees is
the fact that when they move into a small town like
Raytown. is the loss of small businesses. Raytown
lost over forty small businesses.
Then there is the “DEAL”. The Walmart on 350hwy. has
cost the Raytown taxpayers over three million dollars
and that’s just the tip. This deal will cost the taxpayers
over NINTY MILLION DOLLARS! That’s after their twenty
three year deal is over. This debt will go on even if the store
closes tomorrow!
Then there is the real estate taxes. The neighborhood taxes
went up to cover some of the lost real estate taxes given
in the deal.
WalMart takes advantage of ignorant city officials, that can’t
foresee the terrible costs to the taxpayers.
Most people only pay attention to the cheap goods and
prices at WalMart. It blinds them to the real cost for small
cities and small businesses.
Think about this the next time you go in ChinaMart, and think
of all the lost jobs throughout the county because of this
twenty eight billion dollar a year profit company.

Katie said...

I am the Controller of a small business in Parkville. The three years before Affordable Health Care, our group insurance increased 8-10% a year. Since Affordable Health Care, the rates have increased 3-4%. God love Obamacare.

Raytown Newbie said...

Mr Casaday.... how can you speak about "lost" real estate taxes on the 350 Hwy Walmart deal when we never had them to begin with??

And the 40 businesses that were lost due to Walmart locating here?? Quick name the twenty or so that paid better wages and benefits. Trouble is if there really were 40, all the good benefits were probably going to the owners or their families.

I did not grow up in Raytown but in another small Midwest town. The "rich" people in town owned the businesses (and ran the politics)and they and their families pretty much controlled almost everything. Oh yeah they hated when Walmart came around to disturb their little fiefdoms.

Can I buy things for less at Walmart?? Usually. Do I save $$money? yes. So if you multiply my savings by the thousands who shop there every day.... we as a community easily save millions a year. And the benefits accrue to all who shop there. Maybe not a perfect example of egalitarianism but they really don't do things a lot differently than most other giant retailers. And yes as a publically traded company, owned by folks like you and me and our neighbors, their number one mission is to make a profit. Free enterprise... ain't it great??

Maybe the 40 businesses who are gone didn't manage things very well. I see we still have a home town hardware, pharmacy, auto parts businesses, donut shops, grocery stores, ...... and on and on. So tell me who were these businesses that Walmart destroyed??

Chinamart??? That's cute. Every store in America could be labeled that, I suppose.

Anyway, have a nice day Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Pat coil you please name those 40 bussiness's and give a time frame ?

Raytown Newbie said...

I forgot to add that two of my three kids are down on Walmart... it's the rage against the machine thing, I guess. It is fashionable.

Just a coincidence maybe, but those are my younger two and they don't eat meat either. We all have our preferences.

Like any successful small business, or large for that matter, I like saving money and earning money.

Anonymous said...

Greg's paper is loosing steam and readers. A lot of the comments are written by Greg himself. Can't say I would hate to see it go.

Anonymous said...

I heard a lawn care business went out; probably cause Walmart sells lawnmowers

Anonymous said...

I've lived and worked in Raytown all my life and Im trying to think what 40 business Mr. Pat is refering to. Pat could you tell us??

Anonymous said...

Look at Lees Summit; they Put in that Walmart years ago on 291 and look at all the Business it ran out. Just a shame