Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Kansas City Chiefs have new Training Camp


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Bricky red skyline of Downtown St. Joseph

Well, after a few years of wrangling Charlie Shields, Missouri Western and the City of Saint Joseph have come up with a plum for 2011 and beyond – the training camp site for the Kansas City Chiefs. It hinges on one criteria, getting enough money to complete new athletic facilities, new parking, and a couple new ballfields to replace the ones that will be under the new parking lot. The Chiefs, the University, the City and the County are kicking in, and yes, probably the taxpayers before long (besides the general use funds that will go to it already).

Some of Saint Joe's old architecture

Some of Saint Joe's old architecture

About time the Chiefs got their camp nearer home and supported somebody’s economy within their fan base instead of the money going to River Falls, Wisconsin in Packer territory. For my hometown, this is big news and it splits the community between the grumblers and the enthusiastic. The grumblers are ahead in the count. Too often in Saint Joe the grumblers win. Saint Joe has about as low a tax base as any city its’ size in the US – taxes are peanuts here, and the services reflect it. That’s the thing taxpayers don’t get. They want good schools, parks, police and fire protection, the streets salted and plowed the second it snows BUT they want someone else to pay for it. Anyone. Just not them.

Columns from the razed Robidoux Hotel stand sentinel

Columns from the razed Robidoux Hotel stand sentinel

Passing a tax in Saint Joe is about as easy as passing a boulder sized kidney stone. It doesn’t happen often and never without a bunch of screamin’ and hollerin’. So, as the city’s economic base crumbles, Snorkel-Economy just the latest casualty of the economic meltdown, people naturally want to avoid higher taxes but for crissakes, Saint Jo’ you have to have some taxes – or else no services.

Robidoux Row - a Museum for the city's founder Joe Robidoux

Robidoux Row - a Museum for the city's founder Joe Robidoux

The Chiefs situation is just one more blown opportunity to get the community rolling if this thing fails to materialize now that the Chiefs have said “Pony up and we’ll do it.”  Communities grow by an aggregation of attractions/amenities, services and conveniences. Saint Joseph has the convenience of a centralized location with good highways right through it, a river, a major airport just minutes away but it always seems to fail when it comes to capitalizing those other two things – services and attractions/amenities.

Rococco front of the Missouri Theater downtown

Rococco front of the Missouri Theater downtown

Add some ridiculously stupid government that can’t get anything done without deadlocking themselves in ego fights and ‘who’s in charge’ tug of wars and it’s not hard to see why the city always seems seems to teeter on the precipice if economic disaster. Poor services because of low taxes, mediocre schools, and a dearth of quality attractions, unless a second rate river casino is an attraction. I mean, this is a town that proudly hails itself as the home of Jesse James – a career criminal!

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Pony Express Statue - Where Johnny Fry took the first ride

Thing is, it’s not a bad town to raise kids and it could be great if they’d just do a few things. Hire a professional curator to operate and run the museums for one. The city has a great but underutilized and poorly operated museum system, yet as a history buff I can state this is a very fascinating place with some great possibilities. Protect the parkway from developments of any kind. The museums are in place, their artifacts and the history they represent are great – they just need some funding and direction. The Chiefs camp is another step. It brings people here. It gets the name on front burners in season and increases tourism. I could be a pessimist and say oh hell, they’ll blow it again but this is my hometown. I’d like them to win one for a change.

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Belt Highway - St Joe's Fast Food Mecca

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December 30, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment