City of Excelsior Springs – Safe Streets and Sidewalks

City of Excelsior Springs Awarded $21.5 Million in RAISE Grant

RAISE Grants 2022
Picture via American Public Transportation Association

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant program, also known as RAISE, has allowed the federal government to direct $21.5 million to the City of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. This historical figure is thanks to Congressman Sam Graves and elected officials at every level giving their support to the project that will allow for transformational infrastructure changes that will improve the entire west side of the city. The RAISE Discretionary Grant provides a unique opportunity for the Department of Transportation to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives.

In a release from Congressman Graves’ office, the congressman said, “I’m thrilled to see this project receive funding. These improvements are going to greatly enhance safety, both motorists and students walking and biking to school in Excelsior Springs. Congratulations to all who put in the effort to get this grant. I know this project has been a long time coming and can’t wait to see these improvements completed.”

The City of Excelsior Springs spent an intensive period of time getting feedback from the public, working with stakeholders on what improvements were needed, and then seeking funding, which was a five year process. This project is meant to improve safety and connectivity in Excelsior Springs through improvements of current roadways, the addition of sidewalks and trails, and create a pedestrian bridge of the U.S. Highway 69 (US-69).

Grant funds will be used to construct roadway and intersection improvements, sidewalks and shared-use paths, manage stormwater runoff, and enhance the streetscape. The project will create jobs, safer corridors, and eliminate barriers to community destinations. 

Kearney Road Pedestrian Way

“The improvements being made will be transformational. Our city will become more walk-friendly and the streetscape along 10 highway will invite shoppers into the shopping corridor,” said City of Excelsior Springs Economic Development Director Melinda Mehaffy.

The current Excelsior Springs transportation network is challenging to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Access to the city’s basic retail needs, services, education, medical care, and employment are compromised by poor connectivity within the city. Due to a lack of sidewalks and bicycle paths, pedestrians including students, elderly and disabled residents, are unable to safely travel within the community. This in addition to limited transit services and lack of taxi/ride share options.

Excelsior Springs City Manager Molly McGovern states, “The Safe Streets & Sidewalks Project is a result of two separate grassroots efforts that seek similar outcomes. Families expressed an overwhelming need for sidewalks and traffic improvements on the west side of Excelsior Springs due to traffic conflicts between cars and pedestrians before and after school. In tandem, the Chamber of Commerce began to evaluate how to get travelers to visit businesses on the west side of the community. Rather than to drive further into downtown Excelsior Springs, without stopping. Historic Downtown Excelsior Springs is a major attraction to visitors and residents alike. Fall 2018, the Chamber of Commerce formed the Westside Committee to evaluate needs within the west side business district, including the need for visual, and functional improvements to capture consumer spending. The Committee has formed the Westside Community Improvement District (CID) to provide for the desired improvements.

The Safe Street and Sidewalks Improvement Project is a top priority for the City. Locally, the project will help the city revitalize a critical economic corridor and improve citizen safety. The project complements efforts to focus investment and increase opportunities for commercial and residential growth.”

The City is worked in partnership with the Excelsior Springs Area Chamber of Commerce’s West Side Business Committee to identify improvements needed to connect the west side business districts with the other areas of the community.

“This is an exceptional moment for our city and we wish to thank and congratulate our city leadership for the countless hours that went into making this a reality! The RAISE grant funds will significantly improve the safety and accessibility for everyone walking, shopping or working along the West Side Corridor. The Chamber is very committed to working with all parties through each phase of implementation and we eagerly look forward to the positive impact this will have on our community,” says Bill Westerheide, President of the Excelsior Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

Improvements will be made in three phases, for all to be completed by 2030. The first phase will include trail (sidewalk) paths to be established on Wornall Road, near Cornerstone Elementary and the Middle School. The first phase will also include construction of a pedestrian overpass of 69 Highway. Additionally, an advanced warning system for EMS response will be installed at the Dunbar train crossing, to alert emergency responders when there is a train crossing so they can alter their path across town in an emergency. 

Excelsior Springs Mayor Sharon Powell says, “I would like to sincerely thank Congressman Graves and his staff for their support in helping us obtain the RAISE Grant to improve the infrastructure around three of our schools. This project will greatly enhance the safety of our children as they walk, ride their bikes, or drive to these schools. Thank you also to the dedicated city staff that worked tirelessly preparing the application for this grant.”

The award is the largest awarded in the state of Missouri and the 7th city listed highest to lowest in rural categories throughout the nation. Other Missouri communities that have received RAISE funding include: City of Independence ($10,160,000); City of Kansas City ($5,000,000); Mid-America Regional Council ($5,600,000); City of Maryville ($5,925,780).

For complete details, maps, and studies on the project, visit

Excelsior Springs City Leaders Respond...

Excelsior Springs is extremely grateful to Congressman Sam Graves and all who were instrumental in securing this funding. Safe Streets and Sidewalks will now become a reality for our the citizens of our community.

Stephen Spear

City of Excelsior Springs, Mayor Pro Tem

One of the features of this project that is key is the use of technology to assist our first responders in choosing the fastest response path from the west side of town to east, and vice versa, during an emergency. The most used route encompasses Dunbar and Miller streets, where rail traffic can cause delays of two or more minutes … minutes that are needed when responding to emergency situations. The attention to details will benefit everyone who lives, works or plays in Excelsior Springs. It will drive economic growth along two important corridors, 69 Highway and the North Jesse James Road commercial district. Best of all, it will provide safety to school students and pedestrians that our community has been vocal in pointing out the need for. I praise Congressman Sam Graves and his staff and City Manager Molly McGovern and her staff for this great achievement.

Sonya Morgan

Councilwoman, City of Excelsior Springs

The RAISE grant will help make Excelsior Springs safer and more connected. The projects it funds will also make the community more attractive to visitors, businesses, and potential residents. We appreciate the tireless efforts of citizen advocates and dedicated city employees and the support from Representative Graves and his office to make this possible.

Andrew Kowalski

Councilman, City of Excelsior Springs

There are milestones in the life of a community that have ripple effects going far beyond the event. The efforts of Congressman Sam Graves and his staff, in securing significant funding for safe sidewalks and traffic areas in Excelsior Springs, has created just such an event. Our community could not be more pleased with the outcome of their efforts.

Mark Spohn

Councilman, City of Excelsior Springs

What these grant funds will do to our infrastructure is almost unimaginable. During my 30 plus years here, we have never come close to this amount of streetscape, sidewalk, trails, and pedestrian improvements all in one project. The west side will see a transformation that would not be possible without these funds coming to our city. Thank you Sam Graves for all your assistance in getting this grant approved! I look forward to getting these projects started and continuing to make Excelsior Springs a better place to live.

Chad Birdsong

Public Works Director, City of Excelsior Springs

Being a first responder and the Fire Chief of Excelsior Springs Fire Department, the news that the city has been chosen to receive RAISE funding is amazing. One of the most important things to a community is the health of its children. With this money Excelsior Springs can make passage to and from school safe for all children. The crossing over 69 highway will be a much needed improvement. I cannot count the number of times in my career that I have watched children run across 69 highway coming and going from school, that danger will now be eliminated. Thank You goes out to Congressman Sam Graves and his staff for their assistance in securing this grant. City Manager Molly McGovern and Economic Development Director Melinda Mehaffey deserve an incredible amount of thanks for all of their hard work to make this happen. The citizens of Excelsior Springs should be extremely proud.

Joe Maddick

Fire Chief, Excelsior Springs Fire Department

I am proud to be a part of a community that continues to focus on opportunities to provide safe living options for our citizens. Our city and business leaders are working in tandem to promote health and wellness in our community by offering safe living areas, nutrition, counseling, health and resources for our residents. The addition of new sidewalks and walkways will enhance our community’s ability for more residents to have access to safe walkways. This is incredibly exciting!

Kristen DeHart

Chief Executive Officer, Excelsior Springs Hospital

I didn't know I could get so excited about sidewalks, but I am! What a great improvement that should significantly improve safety around our schools. I would like to thank the City for spearheading this important project. As a school superintendent I feel blessed that our district has such a close relationship with the City. When we work together great things happen!

Dr. Travis Hux

Superintendent, Excelsior Springs School District 40

These trails will finally offer safe routes to parks that we have been missing. Our goal has been to develop a park with 1/2 mile to 1 mile from residents in City limits, and we have done a pretty good job developing these parks in these areas up to this point. We know there are still some areas left, but these trails will provide safe routes to existing parks outside of this range still. We are looking forward to what opportunities become available in the future with this major progress.

Nate Williams

Director, Parks | Recreation | Community Center

Molly McGovern never ceases to amaze me. She, her team and the Council’s tireless efforts to advance Excelsior Springs will benefit our community in so many ways. The momentum is contagious for all.

Jesse Hall

Project Manager, Excelsior Springs Parks and Recreation | Community Center

I am so excited to hear that Excelsior Springs received this grant for the West side! The west side is the first impression one gets coming from the Kansas City area. It will not only make for safer travel for pedestrians, but will beautify the impression people get when entering our city. Congratulations to all involved in making this happen. I am excited to see this progress for all of Excelsior Springs, our citizens deserve this!

Mike Anderson

Owner, Chuck Anderson Ford