Working to Maintain Momentum.
So long 2020! It was a rough year for many local Martin City businesses and we want to say THANK YOU to all the generous people who did so much to support them and keep them going. We’re nothing if not resilient in our own small-town community, and if you take a closer look, you’ll see hope and possibilities are still abundant in Martin City.
“We’re leaning forward,” says Vickie Wolgast, District Manager of the Martin City Community Improvement District (MCCID). “The community is ready to get things done and make a positive impact this year.”
Wolgast splits her time as District Manager of the MCCID with her role as president of the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She works diligently to help South Kansas City businesses make connections and grow their companies and she’ll be working with Martin City in 2021 to manage the following priorities…
East Side Development and Infrastructure Improvements
Businesses in Martin City are ready to move forward with neighborhood improvements and overhauling Holmes Road is at the top of their wish list.
“The pandemic has certainly slowed things down and City planners haven’t been able to work at full speed,” says Wolgast. “Despite the challenges, we’re still making progress and key pieces of the project have already been put in place.”
Planned Improvements for Holmes Road:
- Widening the two-lane road to three lanes from 137th Street to Blue Ridge Blvd
- Addition of a center turn lane
- Addition of a 5-foot sidewalk down the east side of Holmes Road
- Addition of a 10-foot multi-use trail on the west side of Holmes Road
- New curbs and gutters
- New street lighting
- Minor extension of 135th Street east to accommodate future developments
Estimated Cost of Holmes Road Improvements:
- $7.5 Million
- Funding will come from KCMO’s $800M General Obligation Bond Fund
- Funding for Right-of-Way acquisition will come from KCMO’s Sixth District PIAC Funds
Construction on Holmes Road is still likely a few years away but financing for the project is already being finalized. The next step in the process will be to secure Right-of-Way easements from property owners and businesses located along Holmes Road. (A Right-of-Way easement grants MCCID permission to develop the strip of land between Holmes Road and all privately-owned properties.)
Wolgast says property owners and businesses willing to grant Right-of-Way acquisition requests can help things move forward much faster.
“The sacrifice is minimal for property owners,” says Wolgast. “And the reward will be a dramatically improved, modern street that makes it easier to access businesses. We’re really going to need everyone’s cooperation to secure the Right-of-Way quickly so the project doesn’t slow down.”
Extending 135th Street east will help developers meet access requirements for the two apartment communities they plan to build on the east side of Holmes Road. The street extension will likely result in a cul-de-sac or a ‘T” layout that stretches 135th Street to the east, not far from the Blue River. Our goal is to have the entire Holmes Road project completed by 2024.
Construction on the new apartment communities, one near the corner of 135th & Holmes Road and the other on Charlotte Street behind Margarita’s, could begin in late 2021, but 2022 is probably more realistic.
New housing in Martin City is an exciting sign of our growth and progress and we’re looking forward to having more options for people to work, play, and live right here in Martin City.
Beautification & Maintenance
The 135th Street Public Improvement Project has been our biggest infrastructure achievement to date and after all that work, maintaining the street remains a priority. American Companies, a local Martin City business, will be sweeping 135th Street every other month in 2021 to keep it free of trash and debris.
REMINDER! Businesses and property owners are legally responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks, walkways, and parking areas located in front of or attached to your property. If a bus stop or fire hydrant is located in front of your business, you are also responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalks surrounding them.
Speaking of sidewalks, we have quite a few pedestrians, including senior citizens and those with disabilities, that rely on our sidewalks to walk to bus stops, stores, school, work, home, and more, and we’re counting on Martin City businesses to keep them safe. Learn more about snow removal protocols in KCMO>>
Attractive communities tend to attract more community investments, and we want to send a message that says Martin City is worth investing in. Our beautification and streetscape initiatives help us attract new businesses, visitors, and residents to the area so it remains a top priority for us in 2021. Rosehill Gardens will continue to grow and maintain the beautiful hanging flower baskets lining 135th Street. And as soon as the warm weather returns, they’ll be out changing the winter flowers over to a fresh spring mix.
Did you know people who walk or ride bikes are more likely to use local businesses?
Taking a walk down 135th Street is a great way to experience Martin City, and soon you will be able to park and lock your bicycle after a bike ride through the neighborhood too! Twenty-three branded bike racks are about to be installed at various locations around Martin City, moving us a small step closer to achieving our goal of creating a bicycle-friendly community. Each bicycle rack will have room to park and securely lock two bicycles.
KCMO development code requires bicycle parking at all new developments and most businesses, offices, and public buildings. That means both of the new apartment developments will also have bike racks on their properties.
“We’re hoping the developers will work with us to use our same Martin City branded racks so we can maintain a consistent Martin City experience,” says Wolgast.
Our goal is to create and support a positive culture of biking and walking in Martin City so expanding and improving our bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure continues to be a top priority.
There are many ways to access Martin City from local roads. So many, in fact, visitors don’t always realize they’re entering our district unless they’re paying close attention. In 2021, work will continue on a district-wide signage plan with the goal of placing a sign at every main entrance.
Wolgast says implementing a comprehensive signage plan takes time to execute but will definitely be worth it in the end.
“Paying for all the signage at once is expensive. We want to craft a plan that allows us to budget for the initial sign design and installations, and over time, as funds become available, we hope to add more signage throughout the district that will attract more visitors to the neighborhood.”
Annual Martin City St. Patrick’s Parade?
Since the lingering pandemic has kept event planning up in the air, we’ve decided to go ahead and postpone the 2021 St. Patrick’s Parade until it’s safe to gather in groups again. We’re all disappointed but we know keeping everyone safe and healthy is a much bigger priority and postponing the parade is the right thing to do. Please keep an eye on our social networks for parade updates. We’ll announce a new date as soon as we know it’s safe to do so.
We’re thankful to have Kansas City police officers patrolling our streets daily, and have you heard? The Martin City Community Improvement District is now covering costs to make additional Orion patrols free for all Martin City businesses in 2021. The private security company checks all properties at night for things like open doors, open gates, and suspicious activity. Wolgast says they do a thorough job but need every business owner’s help to optimize the service.
“We really need every business to fill out a basic form with key information including emergency contact details that helps Orion get ahold of you immediately if they need to.”
Martin City’s ongoing revitalization efforts are proof we get things done right when we all pull together. We encourage you to attend an upcoming Martin City CID Board Meeting to learn about opportunities to help.
Board meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at Jess and Jim’s Steakhouse. Meetings are open to the public and you do not need to RSVP if you would like to attend. Meeting minutes are posted on our website as soon as they are available.
2020 shouldn’t be a tough act to follow, so lets all pitch in and make 2021 our best year yet in Martin City.