Basehor mayor reviews city’s 2011 accomplishments in annual address
In his 2012 State of the City address Thursday, Basehor Mayor Terry Hill put the focus on 2011.
Hill reviewed some of the accomplishments of Basehor and its government during the past year during a 10-minute address at the Basehor Chamber of Commerce's monthly meeting at Community National Bank. The city's recent political turmoil went unmentioned as the mayor focused on new city services and examples of growth.
“Right now, we are doing very well,” Hill said.
After thanking city employees for their work during 2011, Hill touted two developments approved by the Basehor City Council in 2010 that sprung into action last year: the addition of curbside recycling service and the city's takeover of the Field of Dreams athletic complex.
Though it was “a little difficult” for some residents to adjust to the curbside recycling service, Hill said, the city heard from more and more residents who appreciated the change as the year went on. Participation from Basehor residents increased during the year, as well; earlier this month the city reported that recycling collection grew from about 10 percent of all waste during the year's first quarter to about 20 percent of all waste during the fourth quarter.
“I know for my family, we were casual recyclers,” Hill said. “But since I have a recycle bin in my garage, we use it extensively.”
The mayor said he was also proud of the work the city had done in taking over the Field of Dreams complex, whose previous owners were struggling to support the park financially. He credited city council members for overseeing the change, especially City Council President Dennis Mertz, who strongly supported the city's purchase of the park in 2010.
During 2011, city workers renovated restrooms, concession stands and other parts of the complex, Hill said, and about 130 residents took advantage of a half-price rebate on youth sports participation fees that was available to children who live in Basehor.
“One of the reasons a city government exists is to improve the quality of life of the people that are in the city,” Hill said. “And through projects like this, we do improve the quality of life for the citizens.”
Hill also cited some examples of economic growth, a topic he noted would be of interest to his audience of Chamber of Commerce members. The acceptance of a state grant to extend Wolf Creek Parkway and the impending arrival of an Orscheln Farm & Home store, he said, would both help pave the way for future development. Growth is something the city must embrace, he said.
“Whether we grow kicking and screaming, or whether we manage it successfully, we are going to grow,” Hill said.
The mayor listed a number of other city government projects from 2011 and the coming year, including the use of a state Safe Routes to Schools grant to build new sidewalks along 155th Street and Leavenworth Road; the city’s Pavement Management Program, through which workers conduct annual street repairs based on an engineering study determining need; and ordinances regulating signs and door-to-door peddling that the city passed in 2011.
Also during the Chamber of Commerce meeting:
• New Chamber president Blake Waters recognized outgoing president Aladdin Ashkar for his service. Ashkar, a vice president for Community National Bank, served as president for two years. Waters is market president for the Basehor and Piper locations of First State Bank & Trust.
• Waters also presented a check for just less than $1,200 to Glenda Briscoe of Basehor-Linwood Assistance Services. The chamber raised the funds for BLAS with its annual silent auction in December.
• Cecilia Harry of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, an ex officio Chamber member, called attention to the Chamber's Facebook page.