12-13 Letter to the Editor

December 13, 2013 

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you as a result of research that I’ve conducted for my graduate school project assignment. During my observation, I’ve noticed a major need in the Belton community that may also reflect similar needs of surrounding areas in northern Cass County: lack of public transportation.

The City of Belton website shows that unemployment rates of 4.0 percent exist in the Cass County area with 2.7 percent existing in Belton. This equates to about 3,284 individuals searching for work in Belton and 1,377 residents in Cass County also seeking employment. In addition to the population status, I discovered that the city revealed 13.7% of Belton residents are living at or below poverty level.

The closest bus transit system to Belton is approximately eight miles north of the town at 71 Highway and Red Bridge, according to the routing information from the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. KCATA also indicates it would take almost four hours to walk from Belton, assuming one is physical able to do this. If a collaborative route was added to the Belton area, individuals who are seeking employment will have a better chance at finding work in areas outside our growing community. A local bus route is also safer for pedestrians attempting to cross the highway, both 71 and 58, and can even save gas for those who have limited income when driving to areas outside Belton.

Cost-effective public transportation is essential to improving the welfare of all Belton residents and even more so to residents who are attempting to supplement their income by working in areas outside this growing community.

Our community has seen widespread growth with the opening of Sam’s Club in Raymore and home developments south of 58 Highway. However, this growth is stymied by the lack of small business growth in the area. Small businesses have now been forced to close due to economic changes. Should future businesses decide to open shop here in town and public transportation is available, the jobs will not be accessible to Belton residents. Additionally, these businesses will have difficulty attracting clientele from surrounding areas without personal transportation, which also puts a damper on continued tax support these businesses provide to the city.

As we move into 2014, it’s clear that community residents need better options for transportation if they want to keep the hometown feel we’ve loved for so many years. Residents need to know their town supports them and wants them to remain life-long residents.

I encourage the local governments to make this issue top priority for 2014. Let’s make Cass County the best county in Missouri!

David Chrisman

Belton

Dear Editor:

The Cass County Toy Shop would like to thank all the local businesses, churches, and families who have helped make this a special Christmas for local families in need. We've had a dedicated group of supporters who donate every year. These people can always be counted on no matter how difficult the economics are. Since 1991, we have helped hundreds of Cass County families. We provide not only gifts for the children, but for the parents as well. We also provide Christmas dinner, cleaning supplies, and other necessities to ensure a warm Christmas.

We have stressed adopting families this year to ensure each family has what it needs, and the community has pulled through in an amazing way. Thanks to the managers of Wal-Mart and the Snack Shop, we have even been able to place a tree in one of the most visible spots in Harrisonville.

The smiles on the families who are adopted are evidence that we are truly blessed to have such a giving, sharing community. Thank you all so very much. We hope you know just how much you are appreciated and how far Christmas joy is spread because of your dedication.

Shelley Jansen

Harrisonville

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