What does your city need to do to position itself for future economic growth?
Abdelgawad: Raymore is in a good position for future economic growth. As long as our economic development director can present Raymore as a growing city with a stable, professional city government, we will continue to attract businesses. We have been growing in the past few years and we continue to have opportunities for more growth. We have properties available.
We have policies and plans in place for growth that allow options to help new businesses and support existing businesses in Raymore. Our biggest development challenge in Raymore is one that we have planned for--we want to grow, but also to maintain our small community atmosphere.
West: As one of the fastest growing cities in Missouri, Raymore must remain attractive to current and future residents as a place to work, live and play. We can accomplish many goals towards this end by bringing in new business, new jobs, and a larger tax base to our city.
What leadership skills should an aldermen/councilman bring to office?
Abdelgawad: I have served in leadership roles in our community for many years. I am currently serving on the Raymore City Council. In this position that I have held for the past two years, I have learned much about the ins and outs of city government and about the people who live in Raymore. Prior to my role as council member, I served the city as a leader on the Raymore Parks and Recreation Commission. In this position, I began to learn about city policies, budgets, and our wonderful parks and recreation opportunities in Raymore.
I have also developed leadership skills through other avenues, including my career as a teacher. I earned recognition as the Teacher of the Year for the Belton School District in 2013. I founded Cass County Mother’s and More, a mom’s group for moms and children across our county and continue to be a leader in my children’s schools serving in various board positions and leadership roles on the Raymore Elementary PTA.
West: To meet the needs of the people in Ward 4, knowledge and expertise is required to work with other council members and local businesses in formulating a path for our city’s prosperity. A leader is needed who will make the pragmatic decisions that will provide balanced growth and opportunity for further community and economic development.
What improvements need to be made to your city’s services, if any?
Abdelgawad: In Raymore, we are lucky to have excellent emergency services. On our last citizen survey, safety was one of our top areas. People in Raymore feel safe, they see our emergency personnel often and they know that in an emergency they will respond quickly. As in most cities, we have some streets that aren’t quite up to par, but in Raymore we have a plan for street evaluation and repair that stays on top of keeping our streets in good repair. We are working on a plan for developing our newest Hawk Ridge Park and we are getting started on a feasibility study for a community center/civic center.
We have set goals to listen to the citizens and work to provide what we can afford and what the citizens want, this study will help us narrow down the wants and find common ground between our wants and what we can responsibly pay for. We have goals to provide more recreational services to our citizens (of all ages) once we have space to do that.
West: We must ensure that our infrastructure and city’s services are up-to-date and able to accommodate the growth our city is experiencing. Properly funding these services and ensuring the efficient management of these city departments will create an atmosphere in our community that is open to newer and greater opportunities for growth in Raymore. If we can maintain the quality of life we now experience with an even greater population in the future, then we will be able to achieve the goals outlined here.