I’ve received plenty of positive feedback since The Citizen’s Jan. 16 front-page story detailing Powerball lottery winner Mark Hill’s plans to give back to his hometown of Camden Point.
And that’s not surprising — it’s a feel-good story, the kind we could use a few more of these days.
The Hill family’s $60,000 donation to the City of Camden Point enabled the City to purchase land for it’s long-planned wastewater treatment plant. That was almost overshadowed by the announcement a few weeks ago that the family had pledged more financial help in securing land for parks improvements and in building a new fire (and possibly ambulance) station.
Plenty of Platte Countians — and not just those who reside in the Camden Point area — are excited to see a local family who has hit the jackpot give back to the community that has given to them.
Media outlets both locally and nationally have noticed. I saw a report on a local TV station shortly after we published our report and just last week a writer for a national magazine called me looking for more info.
Of course, with all this excitement in the air, it’s a little difficult to remember that these improvements are merely in the discussion stage. And it’s a discussion involving several different entities — Platte County, the City of Camden Point, the Camden Point Fire Station, the North Platte Athletic Association and the Northland Regional Ambulance District (NRAD).
And I’m happy to report that after sitting in on a second meeting between representatives of all those entities last week, I’m convinced that it will get done.
But it’s going to take some time.
Site plans will not be completed and ground will not be broke for a new Camden Point ballfield and the current ballfield will not give way to a new fire/ambulance station until the land coveted for the project near the City’s existing park at Interurban and E Hwy. is acquired.
And it sounds like a little negotiating is still required before that happens.
The City of Camden Point is entering into a partnership agreement with Platte County that will result in a $500,000 commitment from the County Parks and Recreation Department to the project. But per the agreement, the City can only pay as much as appraisal price for any land. Of course, the seller’s retail price is often not in line with the appraisal price and in this case I’m hearing it’s about double.
That’s where the Hill family comes in — they have pledged to pay the difference in the final asking price. They have also said they would be willing to contribute financially to the fire station project and to future maintenance and improvements.
But that land deal has to be consummated, and as of this writing, it had not.
Once it has been, look for the ancillary details to finalize more quickly. I foresee the Camden Point Fire Dept. (which has outgrown its current station) and NRAD (which plans to build a new station in the Camden Point area, anyway) embracing the opportunity to hammer out a joint station agreement. And I also see the City of Camden Point and the ball association inking a deal that will satisfy both sides and benefit the community for generations to come. But, it bears repeating — it’s going to take some time.
“I think it’s a great, great opportunity,” Camden Point Fire Chief Walt Stubbs said at last week’s meeting. “There are going to be people who say it can’t be done, but I know we can do it.
“But the thing is, we have only one opportunity to do it right the first time.”
PIRATES WRESTLING COACH SAYS ITS TIME He’s had a great run: 19 seasons, seven state titles and 156 regular-season dual victories.
But Platte County wrestling coach Phil Dorman — one of the state’s most successful high school wrestling coaches the past two decades — says he is done after the current season.
Dorman told me he finally made up his mind last week and the first people he told were the boys on the Pirates wrestling team.
“(It was a) tough decision, but it’s time,” said Dorman, who will remain at PCHS as the school’s athletic director. Look for more on Dorman’s career and the wrestling program that he took from good to great in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at editor@plattecountycitizen. com or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.