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The mission of 12 Blocks West is to collaborate with community partners and residents in western Independence, Sugar Creek, and Blue Summit, building upon existing strengths, to promote safe, stable, multi-income neighborhoods where families, schools and businesses thrive.


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Bob Spradling on western Independence progress - original article posted Feb. 28, 2010

Bob Spradling is pastor at Maywood Baptist Church in western Independence. He not only worked to successfully annex schools in western Independence into the Independence School District from Kansas City, but has also been active in programs such as Extreme School Makeover, Project Shine, YouthFriends and 12 Blocks West.

What positive changes have you seen in the last few years with regards to development in western Independence?

One of the best things about western Independence is that we are a genuine community. All of the events surrounding the Independence School District are extremely significant for our area. City government has been very responsive to the needs of western Independence with infrastructure and community development improvements. The fact that this area is the top goal of the Chamber of Commerce’s 10-year plan is outstanding.

Why was the annexation of the six schools from Kansas City and important catalyst to jump-starting development in this section of town?

When people speak of the growth of Johnson County, Kan., they always mention excellent schools. Western Independence is now a destination for families, because we have an Accredited with Distinction school district for our children. The fact that Korte is the largest elementary school in Independence reflects the combination of affordable housing and excellent education for children.

How do you see the 12 Blocks West project benefiting community members and business owners in western Independence?

Twelve Blocks West will be a catalyst to bring the combined resources of our community to bear on Western Independence. We should see at least three things happen through 12 Blocks West and other initiatives for our area. First, the excellent, existing qualities of western Independence will be highlighted. Second, there are blocks where one or two renovated houses will make a dramatic difference to the neighborhood. Significant changes will take place as these homes are brought up to the standard of surrounding houses in their neighborhood. Third, there will be an increase of home owners, who will make western Independence their place of residence for years to come.

What is ultimate goal for this area? What would you like to see happen to western Independence?

I recently watched some first graders playing at lunchtime at Korte Elementary. My heart longed that these children have the best opportunity for a future and a hope. This desire of mine includes all aspects of their lives – spiritual, emotional, educational, vocational, relational, etc. If western Independence could be a place where that dream could be a reality, I think we all would be very pleased.

How can others get involved with redeveloping this area?

People can join with their neighborhood group, the Chamber of Commerce, service club, school-based program or church to see the betterment of our community as both their responsibility and opportunity. Truly, together we can make a difference.

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