February 15, 2020

Mallory Herrmann

The city council last week gave initial approval to two development projects, including a brand-new building for the Colbern Road branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.

The library will more than double, with an expansion from its current 15,000-square-foot building to more than 33,000 square feet – including a large community meeting room, small collaboration spaces and an independently-operated café.

A representative for the library system said that, with the council’s approval, the branch will close shortly to begin removing materials to the city’s newest location – a branch at 2160 SE Blue Parkway, near 50 Highway and Todd George Road. That branch is expected to open in April.

The city’s third branch, located at 150 NW Oldham Parkway, is slated for renovations after the Colbern Road project is complete. It is expected to get a 5,000-foot expansion, though plans for the project are still in progress.

Councilmember Rob Binney wasn’t sure why the Colbern Road branch, built in 1998, was getting a facelift before the Oldham location, Lee’s Summit’s oldest MCPL location. But the library says it comes down to the logistics and that tackling the Colbern renovation first will allow them to shuffle materials so that all three locations can get the necessary work done – without ever leaving the city with just one library open.

There were no public comments, either in support of or in opposition to the project. Binney voted against the project; all other councilmembers voted in favor.

The council also voted to approve an expansion project for the Journey Church International, located on Missouri 150 Highway east of 291 South. Some councilmembers raised concerns about the entrance to the property from 150 Highway, particularly after some serious car accidents in the area.

Josh Johnson, assistant director of plan services, noted that while the council was free to offer feedback on the proposed entrance, the highway is controlled by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODoT) and it would be their decision regarding any changes. The council voted unanimously to approve the preliminary development plan.

“Even though this is their controlled highway it’s still our city, and I think we really need to maybe try to be a little more forceful with them or get them to come to the table better for us to protect our citizens,” said Councilmember Trish Carlyle.

Both projects received unanimous recommendations for approval from the planning commission last month.

All councilmembers were present at the Feb. 4 meeting.