Long time Peculiar resident Jeff Harlan took some time out of his schedule to sit down and talk about what he wants to see happen for the City of Peculiar and Ward 2. Inspired to run for the Board by his late father-in-law, Harlan wanted to be part of the future growth of Peculiar.
Having served on the Board since April of 2016, Harlan says that he has done of lot of listening and learning. One of the things he found the most interesting to learn was the behind the scenes daily activities that it takes to run a city. “Things that people would never ever think of, they only see the effect, they never see the cause,” said Harlan.
He really enjoys working with the Mayor and other Board members as well as the city staff to bring about changes for the betterment of the City. “The people that work for the City and the people who ran for office really do care.” Harlan says that he wants to continue to follow through on things that he and the Board are currently working on so he plans on running again once his term is up. As for the current Board, he believes there is a good mix of experience and new ideas and that though they may not always agree, they do respect each other. As for the Mayor, “she cares about the City a lot and I didn’t realize that until I got in as an Alderman. She loves her town of Peculiar,” noted Harlan.
For his constituents he is working to improve the quality of Harper Road. “We need to widen it and pave it,” commented Harlan. A second close item of concern for his ward is the aging infrastructure. He also wants to see the new subdivisions in his ward have some diversity of designs for aesthetic reasons as well as resale value.
Harlan would also like to see the City along with the Parks and Rec department do something more with 66 Acre Park. “I’m really tired of seeing if you want to play sports, they all go towards Raymore, Belton or Harrisonville because Peculiar doesn’t have anything of their own. I’d like to see that ground that we bought and we were promised, and we got our taxes raised on it…that needs to be brought up. We need to put something on that land,” stated Harlan.
Broadening his outlook to the whole of the City, Harlan is most excited about the upcoming road construction season. “I think people are going to be surprised about all the street projects we have going on.” He also noted that some neighborhoods could expect to see curb and sidewalk repair.
Of course bringing businesses to the new interchange is also a main point of attention. “I want to see the business we do bring in make sense,” Harlan said. He wants to see businesses that are a regional destination for people in Cass County. “Let’s be smart in how we select what we bring in. We are a small town that wants to grow a little bit, but stay in our boundaries. We want to make it what Peculiar is.”
For anyone looking to get involved with local city governments, Harlan suggest that approaching the position with an open mind is most important. Secondly, they should keep their eyes open and learn. Thirdly, he says they have to listen. “You listen to the people who work for the City and you listen to your constituents,” he explains.
What Harlan really wants people to know about him and his style of leadership for the City is that he is honest, trustworthy and loyal. He is a family man that has raised children in Peculiar and now brings his grandsons to activities as well. He says that he comes to the position with a level head and common sense. He takes the time necessary to really get to know an issue rather than simply going by word of mouth or rumor. “If someone has a little minor complaint, I will actually drive out and take a look at it,” promises Harlan. Having been a coach throughout his children’s lives, he says that he tries to live how he coached, “I want to learn and do my best for the whole city.”
If you have any questions or concerns for Alderman Jeff Harlan, he can be reached at 816-260-8428 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.