Nov. 9, 2019

By Margot Betsworth

Driving on 470 Eastbound past the View High exit into Lee’s Summit, one encounters the gateway with the words: Yours Truly. A recent development has been the installation of native landscaping to compliment the sign and make the creation of the gateway look more intentional.

Some background, This monument was erected through various collaborations with city organizations and private companies. The actual monument sign was the first part of this process proposed by Gene Gamber (dec.). Gene was really involved in the city and he pushed for the creation and funding of the two Lee Summit monuments located past the View High exit and by Lakewood Blvd exit off of 291.

Attempts to create a landscaping feature that would compliment the gateways was a challenge due to the rocky terrain around the View High gateway. William R. Gibson, founder of Down to Earth Services a local native landscaping company, saw this challenge as an invitation and submitted a design for what the view high monument could look like by using native plants.

“At one point in our geographic history, when settlers were starting to enter our region, these are the plants that were here, they thrive on this terrain and do really well.”

The importance of native plantings and sustainable landscaping was not lost on the organizations involved with this project.The beautification commission of Lee’s Summit, a volunteer organization in collaboration with LS Parks spread the word and contributed funds to the project. Now having a formal design, the city became involved and saw to the installation at the gateway.

This installation lends itself to the overall message that was intended for these signs, but will also be a visible representation of native landscaping ideology. Green infrastructure usually focuses on the building materials or energy use. However planting and maintaining a site is something that can easily be put in the hands of your average resident. Therefore, a planting like this can showcase the use of native plants not only for their ecological benefit, but for their aesthetic beauty.

It was important for Down to Earth Services to set an example for future plantings and to see to it that this planting is successful. Therefore, the landscape maintenance will be performed by them for the next three years. Native plant communities take three full years to become established areas that need little care. More people may see this site and be influenced to use native plantings in their gardens as well.