“I Want to Be a Voice for All of Us”

Kelsie McCrae serves Ward 1 on Peculiar’s Board of Alderman. She is half way through her first term and also serves as the Park Board Liaison for the Board of Aldermen. McCrae works as a Division Project Manager for a law firm in downtown Kansas City and has lived in Peculiar for the past eleven years. She and her husband have one child who just began kindergarten in the Ray-Pec School District.
McCrae began her public service on the Park Board. “The more I got involved the more I felt there was an opportunity to do more and I felt that I could something offer something new or different to the City because I’m a younger, family person.”
While some may see local city government as a stepping-stone to bigger political aspirations, McCrae has a completely different take on it. “It’s not necessarily about government or politics for me, it’s more about just being involved in the community.”
With her back ground in business, she felt that she had the skills and ability to serve on the Board and the people of Ward 1 agreed. While they did elect her to represent them, she feels that communication with her constituents is the most challenging part of being on the Board. “I don’t hear from a lot of people. I most likely hear from them after something has happed. It’s hard to get out there and make yourself know so that they feel like they have someone to talk to before the issue actually happens. I do what I do so I can be a voice. I don’t want it to be just my voice; I want it to be the voice of all of us. So if there is an issue or a question or a concern, I want to hear about it. I can’t do the best job possible if I don’t hear from the people in my Ward. So reach out to me and let’s talk!” She can be reached through email at kmccrea@cityofpeculiar.org or by phone at 816-520-2461.
Two items that McCrae feels are important to the people of her Ward are the water issues and streets and curbs. “I feel like we’ve made a really good step by getting our own water connection to the water district. I think it will help in the long term. It’s going to take a while to see the benefits, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Storm water is a huge issue that we need to work out. Also roads and sidewalks. The people I have talked to live in Peculiar and they want to be able to get around in Peculiar.”
One thing that McCrae would like to see accomplished before her current term is up is the completion of the Master Plan for the City. “I would like to see that accomplished so we have a plan in place for our City for years to come. I expect it will be done this year. With the Master Plan there are so many different things we are looking at and when you see it all put together and you think that that future is really a possibility, it’s very exciting,” says McCrae about the coming 211th Street interchange.
That is not to say she will not run for a second term, she is certainly leaving the door open for that. Depending on how the people vote in the upcoming election, the terms of Aldermen may be extended from two years to four. “I was absolutely for the extension because as a newbie it takes a lot to learn everything you need to learn to make good decisions.” McCrae said that her first year on the Board has involved a lot of time researching the background behind the issues and why they are at the crossroads they are. She believes that giving a person four years will help build their own historical knowledge and allow them to make decisions more confidently and expediently.
McCrae has a very positive view of her peers on the Board. “I feel like we are all on the same page. I don’t feel like there are a bunch of hidden agendas or people trying to do things a certain way because that’s how they necessarily feel it should be done. I feel like everyone really does care for and appreciate the opinions of others and wants to do a good job for the City.” She is equally as positive about the job Mayor Stark is doing for the City of Peculiar. “I’ve been really impressed with her. I really like her professionalism, her business sense and her ability to get stuff done. I appreciate her communication style. She gives everyone the opportunity to speak their voice but she also makes sure that we are not dragging things out. I think she is a great leader with great ideas for this City. The staff really respects her and I think that is important and how we get things done.”
Veronika Ray is McCrae’s fellow Ward 1 representative. McCrae says that she has learned a lot from Ray who has “ a lot of history in Peculiar, in the Ward, and on the Board; I think we are on the same page” and “she has been very helpful.”
With her daughter just entering kindergarten, McCrae is fairly new to the school district. “I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen. I appreciate their curriculum. I think it is one of the things that makes our area a draw to families. We have that small town feel but we have that great school district to provide kids with a great education.”
When it comes to the relationship among Belton, Raymore and Peculiar, McCrae says, “I think it is a good relationship and I think it’s going to strengthen. Peculiar offers something a little bit different. We offer more of a laid back, country type feel, small town atmosphere, but close enough to some of the things that Belton and Raymore offer. We have to work together to get things done.” She mentioned working with the other cities for street, curb, and sidewalk projects, which is a resolution that all three cities have recently passed. It is an effort by all three municipalities to save money by coordinating their efforts in order to get lower prices on materials and labor. Additionally, McCrae talked about combining the efforts of the Raymore and Peculiar Parks and Rec sports programs that may be facilitated even further by Peculiar’s Park Director Nathan Musteen becoming Raymore’s Park Director. McCrae says, “Since we do have the same school district and our kids are together, we can partner with them on soccer and different team sport activities.” Peculiar has decided to focus on soccer fields rather than baseball fields. “We had a lot of issues with flooding in Raisebeck. With soccer you just have a field and that is a lot easier to maintain. So that is why we made that decision. I do think that we will see a lot of activity as it relates to soccer.”
Ms. McCrae obviously has a real passion and commitment to her community. She is very approachable and willing to listen to anyone who wants to talk about Peculiar. Ward 1 members are very fortunate indeed to have such an energetic representative on the Peculiar Board of Aldermen.

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