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Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross to retire after 38 years in public service

Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 29, 2024

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — This will be the first time in more than 15 years Carson Ross won't be on the ballot as a candidate to serve as Blue Springs mayor.

Ross is credited with helping the town's growth over his nearly four decades in office.

Those efforts include more restaurants in Blue Springs and redeveloping areas at U.S. 40 and Missouri 7 highways.

Ross is 77-years-old and as he puts it, “a person that needs no introduction.”

That's because Ross has been in public service for 38 years.

Ross served eight years on what was the Blue Springs Board of Aldermen, 14 years in the Missouri House of Representatives, and 16 years as Blue Springs Mayor.

“My name has been on the ballot 23 times and I’ve only lost two races,” he said. “I found something I thought I was good at, and people obviously agreed.”

Tuesday's election marks the end of his political career.

“It’s a mix of emotions, but it’s time,” Ross said.

He remembers seeing Blue Springs as a “bedroom community” and soon worked to add restaurants, breweries, and other nightlife options.

Ross also focused on adding roads, including the completion of Adams Dairy Parkway to Wyatt Road, and connecting traffic and interchanges.

“I think we may have been the second diamond interchange in the state of Missouri and we did that on our dime,” he said.

Ross recalled his work to help the Blue Springs Police Department, which included passage of a public safety sales tax, renovating buildings, adding a motorcycle unit and a Deputy Chief of Police position.

“There was just a number of things we were able to influence,” he said. “I have a passion for veterans and public service, I guess. I'm going to miss it, certainly. And the relationships and friendships will continue.”

Ross told us in addition to his mayoral duties, he used to write a weekly column, “Carson Ross sharing his thoughts.”

When wasn't working at city hall or as a state legislator, Ross built a career at Hallmark Cards

He retired after working 39 years for the greeting card company.

Because Ross was a Vietnam veteran, former Missouri Governor Bob Holden asked him to serve on the Missouri Veterans Commission. Ross later became chairman of the commission.

Ross said he was also appointed by the White House to serve on the Advisory Committee For Minority Veterans at the Department of Veteran Affairs, where he also became chairman.

And he still found time to serve as President of Eastern Jackson County Betterment Council, Vice Chairman of Little Blue Valley Sewer District, and past president of the Missouri Municipal League Board of Directors.

“I took it to a different level sure," Ross said. "I’m the Mayor of Blue Springs, but I took it to the regional and state level in my service,” he said. “I don’t credit myself for being so great that I was allowed to do this. I have a theory that God puts you in the places he wants you to be, and this is where he put me.”

Ross also credited his success to people getting to know him, respect him, and believe in him.

“I don’t believe in wetting my finger and seeing which the way the wind blows and going that way," Ross said. "If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything."

He described his time in office in Blue Springs as a tale of two cities.

“I moved to Blue Springs, and I think I was one of a half-dozen black families in Blue Springs,” he said.

Blue Springs was then a town of less than 10,000 people. Now more than 60,000 residents call Blue Spings home.

“I say I lived out Martin Luther King’s dream; I was judged based on the content of my character rather than the color of my skin, for sure,” he said.

What’s next for Ross?

“I did it my way, period,” he said. “But if you want to reach me after I leave office, you need to take down this number, 1-800-ON-THE-BEACH.”

Three incumbent city council members are running for mayor in next Tuesday's election.

Ross’s last day in office is April 15th.