From the Mayor 08/03/16

Reprinted with permission of the Independence Daily Reporter

I met a young couple from Overland Park yesterday who have a beautiful two year old son. Their son was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, which required surgery. While their son survived the surgery, and his doctors believe that they were successful in removing the cancer, they also removed critical parts of his brain. He will never walk or talk normally. A terrible, heart breaking tragedy.

On a national scale, it seems that we hear of new tragedies every week. One man mistreating or even killing another simply because of a difference in skin color. A crowd of people gunned down in Orlando. Policemen brutally murdered in Dallas. 
We are certainly not immune to tragedies here in Kansas. A head-on collision leaves two small children without a mother. A sixteen year old drowns, snuffing out a life of unlimited promise. A man walks into his place of employment and kills his co-workers. A town is devastated by a flood. Or a tornado.

On Friday, one of my closest friends called to ask me how we could let such a terrible tragedy occur as moving out of our own City Hall. 
I’m sorry, my friend, but that cannot even remotely be considered a tragedy.

Our City Hall is one hundred years old. Most of the plumbing and heating systems are still original. The systems are much worse than inadequate; they are failing. They simply must be replaced. And when the poor condition of a building begins to affect the health of the people in it, we truly have no choice but to act.

After reviewing the facts, all three commissioners voted to move all personnel out of that building and into the hospital building. It was not a pleasant choice to make, but it’s what you elected us to do. Make tough choices.

The extensive renovations required at City Hall were always going to force us to move all personnel out for an extended time. Don’t ask whether they will eventually move back; that decision is still to be made. The commissioners have agreed that this decision is too important to be made by three people. So the next step is to form a committee of Independence residents who will meet several times, review all the facts, and they will decide whether to renovate City Hall, move it permanently to the hospital building, or build an entirely new building.
If you’d like to have a part in the decision, now’s your chance. Contact all three commissioners and ask to be appointed to the committee.
Regardless of what the committee decides, this is not a tragedy. It is simply a decision that every town faces as their City Hall ages and requires updating.

Several weeks ago, I quoted Winston Churchill: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  Let’s keep that in mind and choose to view the City Hall situation not as a difficulty, but instead view it as an opportunity. An opportunity to make our wonderful city even more exceptional.

Mayor Gary Hogsett