By LESLIE COLLINS
October 23, 2013
“I’m so proud to be a Kansas Citian, especially on a day like today,” said Tracey Mershon, president of the University of Missouri (MU) Alumni Association.
Behind Mershon, an MU banner hung on the wall and the space was decked out in MU colors.
Mershon and others packed 105 E. 5th St. earlier this month to celebrate the grand opening of the Jackson County MU Extension Center’s new space in the Kansas City River Market.
“We see this as a very vibrant area that provides a lot of increased opportunity to reach our clientele,” MU Extension Interim Co-County Program Director and Housing and Environmental Design Specialist Marsha Alexander told Northeast News.
City Council member Jan Marcason said the River Market area is ripe with entrepreneurs and farmer’s markets which complements the MU Extension.
“The River Market is an exciting place to be,” Marcason said.
For nearly 17 years, the Jackson County MU Extension Center was located inside the Metropolitan Community College, 2700 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo., and the center eventually outgrew the space, Alexander said.
In addition to ample meeting space, the new center now features a top of the line teaching kitchen which will support nutritional education.
“This new kitchen is a great resource for us,” Alexander said. “Having that in our space is really going to enhance the opportunity for programming that will focus on food and nutrition initiatives.”
“When you think about the importance of an extension center and what it means, it’s very practical,” Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said during the grand opening. “It’s reaching out to the community and teaching people things which can impact their daily lives.”
One example is the MU Extension Business Development Program, which over the past three years has generated an economic impact of $2.5 billion and helped participants increase their sales by $986 million. In addition, the program helped clients create or retain 32,961 jobs.
One advantage of MU Extension is that it connects the community to unbiased scientific research, free of charge, Alexander said.
“There’s a lot of things we’re looking forward to,” Alexander said of the new space. “We’re already enjoying the increased space, we’re enjoying the opportunity of a lot of foot traffic and people coming in to visit us for the first time in our space.
“We encourage people to come in because we have such a wide variety of resources. Not only are we focused on horticulture, farming and agriculture, we also focus on community development, housing education, financial education and small business development.
“It’s an outstanding resource for consumer education.”
To learn more about the MU Extension and find out about upcoming programming, visit http://extension.missouri.edu.