Goodbye 2014. I shall not miss you. Everyone in their life has peaks and valleys — good times and challenging times — in the course of a year. My valleys have been a little deeper than I like.
So welcome 2015. Please be kind.
In Platte County, we can find things to admire from 2014. The world beyond likely is sending more blessings our way than we realize. But the grim news in the terrorist dominated parts of the planet certainly cast a pall over people of good conscience.
Here are some things I appreciate from the year soon to pass and some wishes for a Happy New Year. Economic news continues to be mixed for the United States.
Small upsurges in manufacturing and jobs appear in reports broadcast on the news. While at the same time, the income gap and buying ability continues to widen between the wealthy and working people.
Prices for things like groceries, medicine and cars are through the roof to most working people. They eke out household maintenance with little or no extra to save for the future.
Tensions are deepening over economic disparity, but those with plenty seem blind to it. On the upside, construction continued on both commercial and residential developments during the past year.
Platte County is experiencing economic growth and new jobs when some counties have little or none. The county becomes ever more affluent but is not immune from the dark shadows economic disparity casts for America.
Platte County’s growing park system continues to be a bright spot.
The county’s tax-supported program shares planning and funds with cities and other entities. During 2014, an extensive Line Creek Trail section opened in Kansas City north; a new boat ramp, dog park and Missouri River front trail opened in Parkville; community recreation centers were expanded; native tree and prairie plantings were coordinated for Platte Ridge Park, and planning continued for more improvements such as developing programs for the Green Hills Nature Preserve.
Most of those projects involve partnerships that make efficient use of taxpayer dollars and incorporate citizen involvement.
Going forward, I’m hopeful the county can work with partners to host more public gatherings like the canoe and kayak float held last summer on the Missouri River.
Kansas City’s growing water and sewer infrastructure system continues to promote residential growth east of Interstate 29 along the KCI corridor. I hope green space, trails, accessibility and affordable housing are included in the mix.
We need neighborhoods that are connected with the broader community. Gated and exclusive subdivisions have limited value to community.
Finally, I hope for better news from around the world regarding terrorism and war.
We have people living in the Platte County community with loved ones serving the cause of freedom overseas. We have residents who are training or who work at Fort Leavenworth, and they are trying to find solutions. The killings, bombings and abductions of women and children are horrible.
Blessings in the coming year to all who labor to end this strife.
Happy New Year to all, may your peaks of happiness be greater than the valleys.
Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area with his family, may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.