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A stunning facility

Updated: Feb 24

Freaking stunning. That was my reaction upon entering the incredible Nuuly facility in the Raymore Commerce Center along Interstate 49 south of North Cass Parkway.

For more than a year, the four newly constructed monster buildings have caught the eyes of all that have passed, but from the Interstate, it has appeared that activity was lacking.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The gigantic 600,000 square foot behemoth looks to be about a third full of automated clothing racks reaching to the sky, laundry and pressing machinery so impressive it required special infrastructure from state and local utilities and a walk of, I’d say probably a quarter-mile to get to the temporary platform put in place to welcome Gov. Mike Parson for Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting.

When the high-end women’s apparel rental company is fully up to speed, it will employ 750 – a tremendous number for Raymore. There are people alive today who can remember when the entire city housed just 750.

This isn’t to minimize the similar Belton facilities that have actually been up to full speed for longer. This is just the first one we’ve been invited to see.

I mentioned the walk to the stage seemed logically about a quarter-mile. Honestly, that’s just a guess, but by the time I got back to the truck afterward, I’m sure I had put more than that amount of mileage on my new right leg. And I didn’t limp, didn’t stumble, and didn’t collapse from soreness or exhaustion at the end.

In fact, when I went through the metal detector on the way in, I had to raise my pant leg to show the security official my situation – he had no way of telling what made the alarm sound by simply observing me.

That’s freaking stunning as well, if you ask me!

• • •

The Belton City Council last week OK’d a Legislative Policy document for the coming year that represents a leap forward for a city that needs desperately to be working closely with its state and federal counterparts in order to effectively serve such a fast-growing population base. It comes when we may be on the verge of electing both House and Senate representatives that will reverse a depressing trend of service.

Second-term State Rep. Michael Davis has been the least connected to the Belton community of any politician in recent memory. Finally being challenged this in this year’s primary by former Summit Christian High School football coach Todd Berck of Raymore, and possibly a Democratic candidate that is well known in the area down the road, there’s a chance for Belton to have the type of representation Raymore has with Sherri Gallick.

You don’t have to agree with Gallick’s political party to appreciate her two terms of strong service to our area, supporting legislation that is good for all of us, and communicating with us weekly.

The only issue I have with Belton’s Legislative Policy is actually fairly predictable and self-serving, though I argue it’s a very public-serving position. No one will be surprised at my opinion on it, but I ask decision-makers to hear me out because I didn’t hear evidence Tuesday night it had been fully thought out.

Under a category called “Municipal Administration and Intergovernmental Relations” comes a bullet point called “posting of legal notices in newsletters or on websites.” The argument is that “due to the increased usage of online technology, the City of Belton supports legislation to allow for the publication of legal notices including but not limited to financial statements, land use and election notices in non-traditional electronic distribution systems in lieu of the unfunded mandate for newspaper publication to help keep the public apprised of local affairs in a more cost-effective method. Further, the city supports legislation that permits the use of electronic and digital archiving of public records.”

Mayor Norm Larkey immediately responded to City Manager Joe Warren’s presentation on that topic Tuesday by saying he supports providing public notice “both ways,” since it was his belief that in our community, not only do a great number of people still read the newspaper, but those most involved and interested in city affairs make up that number.

Warren agreed and said he also supported using both public notice avenues, as did a majority of the council. We appreciate that.

But what is being asked here is for a reversal of state law requiring that notice be published by an independent entity, in print, not just for communication to the broadest audience, but for an independent, permanent record that cannot be tampered with or adjusted from within the government. This is why public notice requirements are what they are, and why they have yet to be overturned at the state level despite numerous attempts.

Yes, we realize print newspapers have a far smaller reach than they once did, and of course, we feel that pain. As someone who entered the industry in the 1980s, during what I believe were the glory years of my industry, the nostalgia bites every single day. Warren knows it too – he got his start in this industry.

But the assumption that a city website might garner a greater readership for public notices while saving the government the cost of independent publication doesn’t address the true reason the practice has continued this long – permanent documentation outside government control.


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