Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

OMC announcement validates optimism

February 17, 2005

For years, De Soto residents have heard that the city was on the cusp of development and that exciting and big things were coming. But the talk has, for the most part, been just that. Repeated predictions have jaded residents to the point talk of coming growth is almost an inside joke.

Some may greet the news that the hospital won't be built on the 40-acre site on 91st Street until some future date as more of the same. It isn't. It is evidence that a major regional health provider has studied the trends and decided it has a future here. It is the first tangible evidence that there is attention focused on De Soto by those who understand the potential, indeed the inevitability, of the community and the Kansas Highway 10 corridor.

De Soto can't run from its future. The forces of change have too many resources and ambitions. To their credit, city leaders acknowledge that fact and have done much in the past two years positioning De Soto to take advantage of opportunities while preserving much of what makes the community unique. That thought can be seen in the updated comprehensive plan adopted nearly a year ago that preserves much of eastern De Soto from typical Johnson County suburban development patterns and the just-completed sewer master plan that outlines the extension of city sewer service to areas to the south and west of De Soto.

The thought was further explored last week in Mayor Dave Anderson's annual State of the City Address. He spoke of preserving De Soto's small-town roots with efforts to revitalize between the Y's, the old-town section of the city, which by accident of geography will be somewhat isolated from future growth.

That plan and other concerns -- especially the need to find a way to grow the De Soto Fire Department -- have greater urgency after Wednesday's announcement. But early exploration of those issues coupled with the progress of the past two years offers reassurance the community can embrace a future that doesn't destroy the past.

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