Build it and they will come

First and Second Creek Watershed project promises development spark in Platte County

For decades, the Northland — and more specifically, Platte County — has been viewed as one of the Kansas City metropolitan area’s greatest untapped reservoirs. A long-anticipated infrastructure project now under way is almost certain to change that.

Reik, mike

Recently, the City of Kansas City held a groundbreaking ceremony for the First and Second Creek Sewer Expansion Project. According to Kansas City Water Services officials, the project, estimated at more than $40 million, will result in more than 52,500 feet of sewer pipeline being laid down in a nearly-15,000 acre area in the Kansas City, Mo. city limits bordered on the east by Highway 169, the west by Interstate 29, the south by Highway 152 and on the north by Interstate 435. The project, which is already under way, is expected to be complete by December 2014. “Sewer projects aren’t the sexiest things to talk about, but they are absolutely a necessity,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said. “Made possible by voter-approved bonds, this investment will provide the infrastructure necessary for future development in the Northland.”

Once completed, the project — which involves a partnership between the City of Kansas City, its Water Services Department, the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission, Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development, Inc. and MD Management expected to create 700 jobs — will open up the area for commercial and residential development. Some projections show more than 70,000 residents could be attracted to the area, which is two and one-half times the size of the City of Gladstone.

While that number would represent about a 15 percent increase in the City of Kansas City’s population, it would also mean a significant increase in population in Platte County, where most of the acreage lies.

“Because the project is in Kansas City, the infrastructure improvements will mainly fall on them, but Platte County will certainly be impacted,” Platte County Second District Commissioner Duane Soper said. “More people mean more law enforcement for the Platte County Sheriff’s Department and more work for the County Prosecutor’s Office.

“But there is no doubt the biggest impact will be felt by the Platte County R-3 School District.”

The physical numbers seem to reinforce Soper’s assertion.