Gladstone Residents Plan For The City's Future

Feb 17, 2017

An aerial view of Gladstone's downtown area taken from a drone.
Credit Bill Tice

Gladstone residents are carrying out a citizen led strategic plan that will decide which city projects take priority for the next ten years.

The “Gladstone: Shaping Our Future” strategic planning process is unique in the metro area: it’s entirely led by the residents themselves.  

More than 100 volunteers met for over a year to brainstorm the sort of projects they’d like to see carried out in their community. Thursday night, a ten member committee started choosing which ones will make the cut.

Among the volunteers, Tina Spallo co-chairs the planning process.

“Now that we’re entering the implementation phase it will allow us, the citizens, to basically pick and choose the items that we want to see happen within that city,” says Spallo.

Projects under consideration include rebranding the downtown area, building an arts and culture center and upgrades to the fire station, civic courts and jail.  

Bill Tice, who is also on the committee, says he was impressed by this citizen led planning effort when he moved to Gladstone from Texas six years ago. He discovered that the multi-purpose community center - where his family has enjoyed daycare, swimming lessons, birthday parties and the gym - was the result of a similar citizen driven planning process that started in 2003 and ended in 2014.

Bill Tice and family. Tice says Gladstone residents drive a lot of the changes in their city.
Credit Bill Tice

“I was amazed at how they could create such a nice civic space that serves so many different functions,”says Tice.

“It’s helped me appreciate what a small city can do for its community," he adds.

Tice, a software developer, says the people of Gladstone are directly driving a lot of the changes  in their city.

Among the projects currently up for consideration, Tice has a favorite that he hopes can replicate the success of the community center:

“The project that’s most near to my heart would be investigating how we would construct or put together an arts and cultural center and what that would mean to the community."

Danny Wood is a freelance reporter for KCUR