Clay County’s State of the Cities: A Year of Successes
Clay County leaders gave their updates during the 2024 State of the Cities Luncheon April 19 at Harrah’s North Kansas City. Those present included (from left) EDC Chair Kirk Davis, North Kansas City Mayor Bryant Delong, Excelsior Springs Mayor Mark Spohn, Gladstone Mayor Tina Spallo, Lawson Mayor Greg Taylor, Smithville Mayor Damien Boley, Kearney Mayor Randy Pogue, Clay County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte, and Liberty Mayor Greg Canuteson. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas was not available for this photo.

The EDC’s State of the Cities Luncheon saw dramatic business announcements by community leaders who shared their success in bringing millions of dollars in development, thousands of new jobs and a wide range of quality-of-life improvements in Clay County.

Held at Harrah’s North Kansas City, the event is sponsored each year by the Clay County Economic Development Council as a way for city and county leaders to inventory their communities’ recent progress and plans.

“Cities play a huge role in our development, and it’s important to hear their plans and accomplishments,” EDC Chair Kirk Davis explained. 

Addressing the nearly 300 people present were Excelsior Springs Mayor Mark Spohn, Gladstone Mayor Tina Spallo, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Kearney Mayor Randy Pogue, Lawson Mayor Greg Taylor, Liberty Mayor Greg Canuteson, North Kansas City Mayor Bryant Delong, Smithville Mayor Damien Boley and Clay County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte. Dr. Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, provided an update on the school which is the second largest seminary in the world with 5,200 students.

Mayor Spohn noted Excelsior Springs’ successes with downtown revitalization and Thrive Excelsior Springs, a citywide effort addressing housing, health and economic development. One result is the recent selection of Excelsior Springs as the first Community of Excellence in the United States.

Mayor Tina Spallo from Gladstone outlined the continued downtown development, including the new Parkside at Hobby Hill apartments and renovations to city hall and police headquarters. The law enforcement effort includes a new central dispatch center serving Clay County, Liberty and Gladstone.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas made a statement even before he arrived on stage, as the first Kansas City mayor to address the annual luncheon. Lucas said a lot of KC’s efforts include basics like road and street improvements, but other projects include everything from tree plantings to the new Kansas City Current soccer stadium, which he noted is just across the Missouri River from Clay County. Lucas also said Clay County and the Northland are home to some of the most significant developments in the region – massive data centers by Meta (owner of Facebook) and Google.

Kearney Mayor Randy Pogue talked about multiple projects, including completion of the 19th Street Interchange with I-35. Other efforts ranged from a connector trail to the Downtown Redevelopment Plan. The trail links the city’s largest park west of I-35 with the town center, which is on the east side.

Representing the smallest city at the meeting, Lawson Mayor Greg Taylor had some big news. Passage of a $3 million, no-tax increase bond issue is allowing the city to address stormwater and street improvements, including a $1.3 million extension of Salem Road to reduce traffic on a neighborhood street.

Liberty Mayor Greg Canuteson had a lot he could have addressed but focused on the city’s massive business and industrial growth that has brought $1.2 billion of investment in the city, just in the past two years. He credited the EDC with helping to start the trend with its Ford 20/20 Task Force that helped bring over a billion dollars investment from Ford, including the $300-million stamping plant in Liberty and another $150 million since then. He said the stamping plant property would have brought $91,000 in taxes during the intervening years, but with Ford’s investment it has brought nearly $4 million.

North Kansas City Mayor Bryant Delong had another dramatic report, including major city projects completed and an unprecedented level of private development. Private development included multiple apartment projects and the Rabbit Hole, a children’s museum, while the city has added parks, street improvements and more. 

The biggest single project in Smithville is demolition and repurposing of the former Spelman Hospital, Mayor Damien Boley said. In that community’s downtown, city streetscape improvements have been followed by millions in mixed-use development with over a dozen new businesses and renovation of older buildings.

Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte concluded the event with an update on Clay County. Highlights were a senior real estate property tax relief scheduled to start next year and an emphasis on public safety in the county budget. Nolte also shared positive trends include tourism spending in Clay County totaling $692 million last year and a survey that voted Smithville Lake trails as the best in the Northland.

Copies of the presentations are available in this DropBox folder. Please note, the files are in three formats, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat and M4v. They also vary in scope, with some being relatively stand alone and some used as background for comments by the speaker which are not included. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

read more

Join the EDC

Name
If you'd like to receive notices about our committees, indicate the ones that interest you:
Billing Address(Required)
Product Name(Required)
Credit Card
American Express
Discover
MasterCard
Visa
Supported Credit Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Expiration Date
 
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Test

Accordion Tab Title 1
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.
Accordion Tab Title 2
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.
Accordion Tab Title 3
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Optio, neque qui velit. Magni dolorum quidem ipsam eligendi, totam, facilis laudantium cum accusamus ullam voluptatibus commodi numquam, error, est. Ea, consequatur.

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Join the EDC