PCAldermanRace2013Potential growth looms on the City of Platte City’s horizon. City officials have stated recently that, with the completion of the City’s Capital Improvements Program, the City is now turning its focus on a long-coveted project — spurring development in the City east of Interstate 29. While no firm details have been announced to date, the City’s Board of Aldermen will likely have the prospect of that development on its plate in 2013 and beyond. So, the fact that as many as three new aldermen could take office in a few weeks is significant.

Two incumbent Platte City aldermen will face challengers in the April 2 General and Municipal Election, while a third open alderman’s seat will be filled by either a former alderman or a newcomer to City government.

Current Ward 2 Alderman Ron Porter will be opposed by David D. Ray (who did not supply a picture for this story) for the two-year seat, while current Ward 3 Alderman John Higgins will face off against challenger Susan Peck. A Ward 1 seat is open after current Alderman Ron Stone decided not to seek re-election, with former Alderman Lee Roy Van Lew and Vickie Atkins vying for the post.

Following are profiles of each candidate:

Ward 1 Van Lew, who did not disclose his age, is also a former Platte City alderman, having served on the Board from 1999-2007. He also unsuccessfully sought re-election in 2010. He feels that his past tenure on the Board, as well as an extensive career in municipal construction, makes him a good candidate.

“I feel that my past experience in construction is of value as the City looks forward to development of property east of I-29,” said Van Lew, who worked a combined 34 years as project superintendents for heavy highway and street projects for construction firms in Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City.

Van Lew said in addition to making progress on development east of Interstate 29, the City has other issues it needs to address.

“In addition to the expansion of the City, we need to complete Platte Valley Plaza and entice occupants for vacant storefronts the City has,” he said.

Van Lew also said some City facilities need work.

“The Community Center and Police Department building is now becoming quite expensive to maintain,” Van Lew said.

Atkins, 59, has lived in Platte City since 1983 and has worked for Kansas City Power & Light since 1989.

“I have worked in records management and KCP&L’s real estate department which required substantial interaction with municipal, county and state government, as well as railroad, churches, businesses and individuals,” she said. “My current position is ‘Business Planning Analyst, Delivery’ writing reports that are required by the states of Kansas and Missouri.”

Atkins, who has served on the Platte City Planning and Zoning Board as well as several other civic groups, said she wants to give back to the Platte City community.

“I feel like I have something to give back to Platte City,” said Atkins, who is married and the mother of three children. “I have four brothers who served in the military and I feel this is a way for me to serve Platte City and its citizens by helping make it an even better place to live.”

Atkins said she believes the City is heading in the right direction and wants to be a part of it.

“I believe Platte City is in good financial shape,” she said. “We have great employees working for the City and a superb police department. I feel there are no crushing issues right now that I am aware of, but with that said, I would like an opportunity to direct the growth of Platte City in the right way without putting unnecessary financial burden on its citizens. We have a chance to do it right on the east side of I-29 with due diligence and to bring job growth into Platte City.

“I would like the citizens to know that I will be a good steward of their trust in voting for me.”