Mayor Joe Reardon recently spoke to the membership of Business West at the organization’s summer membership meeting. One of the highlights of his presentation was the proposal that the Unified Government waive its building fees through 2013 in an effort to jump start residential development.

      There is no question whether or not housing needs a boost in Wyandotte County.  During the past several years, we have seen annual single family housing permits decrease from several hundred down less than 100. In 2005, new housing permits were nearly 500.  Much of this can be blamed on the economics that were caused by factors far beyond Wyandotte County’s borders.

      The economic reality is that financial institutions, including those in Wyandotte County, have suffered severely as builders and developers have gone out of business– or worse– gone bankrupt.

      During the past few years, the hot market in real estate has been foreclosures. Although this has created some opportunities for buyers, it has depressed the overall market. However, more recently real estate sales have returned to more traditional values.

      Last week, a consultant who has studied housing trends in the Piper community, presented his findings to the Piper School Board. His conclusion is that there would be some growth in the district, but that there wasn’t much new housing. The School Board is looking to future needs and will consider building needs.

      Long-term, a consultant who did an economic impact study of the K-7 corridor, estimates that by 2040, the Piper community will grow by about 20,000 persons. There is much green space in Piper; the community offers the excellent opportunity for residential expansion, while still keeping areas open for parks and trails for biking and jogging.

      Presently there are about 20 existing subdivisions in Piper that represent some 2,500 lots without housing. It would make sense to build out these lots first as infrastructure, such as sewers and streets, is in place for these areas.

      The influx of 4,000 new workers to the Cerner office complex in Village West, now under construction, will provide an excellent opportunity for residential development.

      Mayor Reardon, in his talk, told of his recent travel to the convention of the National League of Cities in Orlando, Fla. He said he was flattered that the Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer, wants to come to Village West, and particularly asked to visit the new Livestrong soccer stadium.

      Mayor Reardon will join Business West and others at 10 a.m. Friday, July 27 to celebrate the completion of work expanding 78th Street one lane from State Avenue to I-70. Activity will center at 78th Street and Tauromee Avenue near the recently remodeled Wendy’s restaurant and the new Quik Trip convenience store.

Kathleen Meyers Baska is the president of Business West.