Reardon's leadership created a better KCK
The Kansas City Star
Eight years ago Joe Reardon donned one of the region’s longest titles: Mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan.
It’s a big, complex job in which Reardon has excelled. He has proven savvy enough a CEO to bring the Cerner/Sporting KC project to Wyandotte County and to land the coveted Google Fiber prize. As mayor, he never flagged in his role of chief booster and believer in Kansas City, Kan., his hometown.
“He’s done a lot for this community,” said Tammy Smith, whose family’s business, Sara’s Flowers, has operated in that city for 56 years. “I truly think he has a feel for these neighborhoods.”
Reardon announced Wednesday he won’t run for a third term this spring. His sons are growing up “much too fast,” he said, and he wants to spend more time at home.
A change in the top political job in Wyandotte County is always accompanied by some trepidation. The county has benefitted greatly from the leadership of its last two mayors, Reardon and Carol Marinovich. Before that, it languished under poor and sometimes corrupt leaders. Voters must make certain the next mayor, elected in April, values good government.
Reardon sustained the momentum in western Wyandotte County that Marinovich started. Sporting KC chose it as the site for its state-of-the-art soccer stadium. Cerner Corp. is building an office project that should bring 4,000 good-paying, high-skilled jobs.
Progress in the urban core has been more elusive. Kansas City, Kan., has struggled with unemployment, foreclosures, declining property values and budget shortfalls. Population never rebounded the way Reardon and others wished.
Still, Reardon oversaw the opening of the first modern supermarket built in Kansas City, Kan., in 30 years. Hundreds of citizens came together to work on a master plan for downtown. Crime is at a 30-year low.
“I think the measure of success is what you leave going forward,” the mayor said Wednesday.
Citizens will be fortunate if future leaders maximize their opportunities as handily as Reardon has done.