Blue Springs, Mo. - People go to downtown Blue Springs to visit City Hall or swing by the post office, but that's about it. A few businesses are scattered up and down Main Street, but activity is nothing like it was years ago.
City leaders and business owners are working to turn that around.
After efforts to bring downtown back to life sputtered in recent years, some thought it might never happen.
Donna Hainen and her daughter looked all over Blue Springs before they opened a store downtown.
"I just wanted the downtown environment rather than a strip mall," Hainen said.
She says it costs less to operate downtown, and they feel like they know their customers a little better. She and other downtown business owners are working with Missouri Main Street Connection to revitalize the area.
"Downtown is the heart of this community, and it needs to be a showplace," Hainen said. "It needs to be where people want to come and it be a unique experience."
Blue Springs is one of Jackson County's oldest towns, with many buildings dating from the late 1800s. That's why the city is creating a database of downtown properties.
"Having the resource of what exactly is there, what condition is it in, a picture of it and what the history behind it is, is just valuable for any type of planning toward the future," explained Mike Peterman, principal planner for the city.
This sounds great to Vicki Jones, owner of Memories on Main Street. She grew up just blocks from the tea room and cafe she opened three years ago.
"The more we get the word out there, I think the more people will be interested in coming to Blue Springs," Jones said.
Another thing they hope will bring investment -- a commuter rail stop, but they have little control over that. In the meantime, downtown business owners are looking forward to sustained growth over the next few years.
Read more about the downtown Blue Springs master plan: http://bit.ly/XTrYt5