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Clay County Keystone: Unusual Projects, Strategic Planning And New Scholarships

January 2019

The Keystone Awards Breakfast Dec. 11 included presentation of the first Jim Hampton Scholarship Awards to Northland high school students Mary Brooks of Staley High School and Andrew Pierce of Platte County High School. Making the presentation was Clay County Economic Development Council Executive Director TJ Berry (left) and retired Executive Director Jim Hampton, who started the program this year.

Businesses ranging from international giant Cerner Corporation to a Lawson company founded by two U.S. Marine veterans were among those honored at the Clay County Keystone Awards Breakfast Tuesday.

Hosted by the Clay County Economic Development Council, the event at Harrah’s North Kansas City Hotel and Casino drew over 200 people. Twelve private businesses and more than 12 public projects were recognized for their efforts to make Clay County a better place to live and work. An update of the county’s Strategic Initiative and announcement of a new scholarship program were other highlights.

EDC Chair Elect Greg Canuteson presented the 2018 Strategic Plan Update. Launched in 2013, the initiative has developed strategies for adding businesses and jobs. By working with industry and community leaders, the effort helped bring a 19 percent increase in county jobs over the past five years, the highest increase in Greater Kansas City. Clay County has also become the second fastest growing county economy in Missouri.

The Strategic Plan began in 2013 with a series of meetings held throughout the county to gather information and ideas. Canuteson said new meetings will be held in 2019 to guide planning for the next five years. Times and dates will be announced.

Canuteson and EDC Chair Rebecca Hill presented the Keystone Awards, starting with 12 public projects ranging from the Highway 210 and I-435 interchange upgrade to major school projects in the Kearney, North Kansas City and Smithville school districts. Other public projects included Pleasant Valley Road in Gladstone and Kansas City, Hobby Hill Park in Gladstone, the South Liberty Parkway Phase II and the Diamond Parkway Extension in North Kansas City.

The Keystone Awards went to 12 developments that helped improve the economy and quality of life in Clay County:

Dubious Claims Brewing Company in Excelsior Springs.

• iWerx-Gladstone co-working center.

• Summit Grill in Gladstone.

• McCrite Plaza at Briarcliff in Kansas City.

• Northland Park I, II, III and IV in Kansas City.

• StorTropolis Self-Storage in Kansas City.

• Hunt Midwest SubTropolis in Kansas City.

Gunsmiths of Liberty, LLC in Lawson.

B & B Theatre in Liberty.

Norterre in Liberty.

• Cerner’s Experience Center in North Kansas City.

• GrowSafe Systems Ltd. in Smithville.

The meeting ended with presentation of the first annual Jim Hampton Scholarships. Established by and named in honor of retired EDC Executive Director Jim Hampton, the scholarships were awarded to students of the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS). The first annual awards went to Mary Brooks of Staley High School and Andrew Pierce of Platte County High School.

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