Located approximately 30 miles from Kansas City, the City of Excelsior Springs is a historic community of over 11,000 residents. Originally founded in 1880 following the discovery of its distinctive mineral resources, the city developed to support the industries based around its reputed healing waters. One of the city’s most prominent attractions, the nationally-significant Hall of Waters health resort, featured bath houses, a spa, therapy pools and bathtubs, and the world’s longest water bar, all built around the concept of water as a medicine.

Spa Massage

The city suffered from disinvestment in its downtown starting in the 1950s as the popularity of health spas declined, production of its famed bottles of water stopped, and passenger trains to the city ceased. Despite these economic shifts, Excelsior Springs has continued to witness population growth.

With its unique beauty, character, history, and strategic location as a bedroom community of Kansas City, the city’s prospects present both exciting opportunities and challenges. Today, Excelsior Springs seeks to leverage its unique assets and resources to support an exceptional quality of life for its citizenry and sustainable, long-lasting economic growth. Priorities include investing in and marketing of major quality of life features including the city’s historic and natural assets, recreational and community wellness resources, public safety and community resilience initiatives, and arts and cultural amenities.

Historic Preservation and Economic Development

The community’s buildings and landmarks are key local assets and the City’s leaders have recognized the importance of preserving history with nine sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including three historic districts. Many of these facilities (including the Hall of Waters, which today contains city offices, a visitor’s center, and the office of the Downtown Excelsior Partnership) require active planning, restoration, and preservation in order to prepare for productive reuse and support a cohesive network of tourism attractions. With the designation of two Opportunity Zone census tracts in 2017 – which encompass much of the City proper located in Clay County, as well as its historic districts – the City will need to mindfully integrate its preservation and heritage tourism goals into its broader downtown and economic development efforts.

Recreation and Community Wellness

Excelsior Springs is committed to providing attractive recreational resources that encourage physical activity and positively impact the quality of life, health, and well-being of residents and visitors. Today, amenities throughout the park system include park pavilions, playground equipment, restrooms, lighted baseball/softball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, skate park, walking trails and bike trails. To further encourage business development, provide access to major transportation networks, and promote active recreational opportunities through its parks, open spaces, and trails, City officials identified the need to improve pedestrian infrastructure with a focus on establishing a network of safe routes within reasonable walking distance between destinations in the downtown core and west side of town. The City is working to develop a walking trail to improve physical activity and access to critical community amenities such as the new 50,000 square foot Excelsior Springs Community Center.

Public Safety and Community Resilience

Excelsior Springs provides critical services including police, fire and emergency medical services, curbside trash collections, water and sewage services, local bus transportation and a comprehensive street repair program for its residents. These police, fire, emergency medical services and other public safety services are vital components of every community and investing in and building capacity for these services and programs support the community’s ability to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations and adapt to changing conditions. Therefore, continued investment in a full spectrum of public safety plans, programs and projects can strengthen resilience and improve the city’s abilities to continue and restore vital services in a timely way, protect the health and safety of residents, property and infrastructure, and ensure effective disaster and economic recovery programs.

Arts and Culture

Excelsior Springs and its partners have worked to build and maintain arts and cultural amenities with notable accomplishments including murals throughout the downtown, art galleries and studios, craft breweries and wine tasting venues, Second Weekend Art Crawls, and Waterfest to name a few. These achievements proudly showcase Excelsior Springs as a dynamic community, rich in cultural heritage. Artists and arts organizations are an important resource in the path to building stronger connections and the City should continue to integrate arts and cultural efforts to support, maintain, and expand community traditions that invite neighborhood investment.