Outstanding developments, strategic 'big 4' highlight Keystone awards

Submitted photo

Former Executive Director Jim Hampton presents the second annual Jim Hampton Scholarships to two students of the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies during the Keystone Awards. The 2019 recipients are Chloe Roffman of Liberty High School and Eddie Omencene of St. Pius High School.

CLAY COUNTY — Businesses ranging from a logistics operation in the Hunt Midwest Business Center to a Gladstone-based incubator for artists and other makers were among the developments honored at the Keystone Awards Breakfast Dec. 11.

Hosted by the Clay County Economic Development Council at Harrah’s North Kansas City, the event drew over 200 people. Seven private businesses and five public projects were recognized for helping to make Clay County a better place to live and work.

The event also featured an update of the Clay County Strategic Initiative and announcement of four key projects over the next five years. EDC Chair-elect Greg Canuteson said the “big four” projects are expansion of KC Tech Academy in Liberty, a “587” project for development near Interstate 435 and Highway 152, expansion of the University of Missouri Center for Excellence in Orthopedics at Liberty Hospital and generation of 50 new businesses and 5,000 jobs to double the post-2013 growth.

“None of these projects will be easy,” Canuteson said. “But with everyone’s help, they can become a reality that will make Clay County a better place for all of us.”

EDC Chair Rebecca Hill and Executive Director TJ Berry presented the Keystone Awards to projects that made particular contributions to Clay County’s economy and quality of life including:

• designWerx, Gladstone – a space dedicated to makers like artists and builders who need a business-friendly incubator and retail space.

• HMBC Logistics Center, Kansas City — new logistics building in Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley.

• Holiday Inn Express, Kearney — a large, new hospitality center near Kearney’s front door at Missouri Highway 92 and I-35.

• Dakota Bodies, Liberty — a rebuilt location in Liberty for a world-class auto supply corporation based in North Dakota.

• Iron District, North Kansas City — unique small business startup utilizing repurposed storage containers for restaurants, retail shops and more.

The Keystone honors also included recognition of several public projects including:

• Hobby Hill West Park, Gladstone;

• Kearney High School Bulldog Stadium press box;

• Kansas Street/Missouri Highway 152 Highway and I-35 Interchange;

• Mid-Continent Public Library branches at Antioch, Claycomo, Excelsior Springs and Kearney; and

• North Kansas City High School.

The meeting included presentation of the second annual Jim Hampton Scholarships by retired EDC Executive Director Jim Hampton. The recipients were Liberty High School student Chloe Roffmann and St. Pius X student Eddie Omecene. Both are involved in the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies and multiple activities at their schools.