Did you miss me?
No? You’re not alone. My dog even turned up her nose at me after I walked into the house after eight days away and crawled into my daughter’s lap.
Anyway, Patty and I actually took a week-long vacation with some dear friends to celebrate a few birthdays and an anniversary. We had a great time, and we were able to get away because of our hardworking Citizen staff. So, before I go any further, a big thanks to Pam, Jason, Sara, Jeanette, Jamie and Dustin for taking care of business in our absence.
With that said, you may be thinking that I’m rejuvenated, re-energized and refreshed.
Well... no, no and yes.
I’m too old to be rejuvenated.
I’ve never had a problem with summoning enough energy to a job that I love.
But a few days away from deadlines, headlines and cutlines did refresh me a bit.
I also made a point of watching as little TV as possible (though I did catch the last few holes of the U.S. Open on Father’s Day when Phil Mickelson came in second for a sixth time — ouch), didn’t look at a computer screen once and only checked my phone twice.
Take it from me — we don’t need technology and social media near as much as we think we do.
Anyway, here’s a few things to talk about this week.
HELL HAS FROZEN OVER
After reporting for the better part of the past two decades on a myriad of start-and-stop Platte City plans to develop untapped regions of the City limits east of Interstate 29, I was beginning to think we would likely see Hades awash in snowballs before said development.
I’m happy to say that’s not the case. Check out our front page story for all the details.
CAMDEN POINT READY TO POP
Speaking of untapped regions, add the Camden Point area to that list.
Many folks have wondered why this beautiful niche of Platte County countryside, located just four miles north of Platte City and a few minutes east of Interstate 29, has not grown much the past several decades.
Well, much like the eastern city limits of PlatteCity, it is lacking one very important amenity — a modern sewer system. Developers will not invest in an area — either commercially or residentially — if wastewater is being pumped into septic tanks and not treatment plants.
This situation is getting ready to change in Camden Point, where City leaders have recently been aided in their uphill battle to build a wastewater treatment facility by a certain Platte County Powerball lottery winner.
Of course, I’m speaking about Dearborn area resident Mark Hill, who along with his wife Cindy, claimed one-half of a nearly $600 million lottery prize last November.
It’s been five months since we broke the story about Hill offering to lend his financial support to a plan, which, if it comes to pass, would result in the expansion of the Camden Point City Park at Interurban and E Highways, a newly-relocated and constructed baseball field and new joint station for the Camden Point Fire Protection District and the Northland Regional Ambulance District (NRAD) where the current ballfield stands. The plan would be executed in conjunction with a $500,000 partnership grant the City has in place with Platte County to expand its park and build a new ballfield.
I’ll come back to that in a minute, but let’s step back to that sewer issue.
Late last year, Camden Point had finally found a suitable piece of land near the City limits for a sewer plant, but — as is often the case with small municipalities with even smaller revenue sources — they did not have the money to meet a stringent deadline to buy the land. In stepped Hill, who ponied up a reported $60,000 in December to close the deal. City officials said with the land purchase, they can begin to move forward on their coveted infrastructure plans.
Let’s flash-forward back to now, and the five months which has passed since Hill laid out his vision for the E and Interurban Highways intersection at a meeting between County, NRAD, Camden Point Fire, City of Camden Point and Camden Point Ball Association officials.
During that time not a lot has passed, primarily because a deal could not be reached with the owner of 10 acres near the CamdenPointPark that is crucial to the expansion of the park and the new ballfield location. But, I’m happy to report that a contract has finally been signed and I’m told that Hill’s financial support will consummate the transaction at an expected July 8 closing date.
Camden Point Alderman Mark Wagoner, whose efforts have also been big in the sewer and park projects, said the only hurdle left before closing is a County-required environmental study on the 10 acres.
“That’s been farmland for so long, I don’t see that being a problem at all,” Wagoner said.
Aside from the partnership between Camden Point and PlatteCounty, which has already resulted in the construction of the park/trail and ballfield improvements over the years — another aspect of this project is the fact that NRAD and Camden Point Fire have so far embraced the opportunity to work together on the joint station at the E/Interurban intersection.
The Boards of the two entities met recently to make sure they were ready to move forward.
“We wanted to make sure NRAD was OK with it because they already had land,” Camden Point Fire Chief Walt Stubbs said.
NRAD Executive Director Scott Roy said the meeting was very productive.
“We wanted to make sure we all lay down the right foundation to benefit the taxpayers we both serve,” he said. “Our Board is very optimistic and excited to be working with Camden Point Fire and also about what Mr. Hill is offering to do.”
Stubbs said now that it looks like the land purchase is imminent, more meetings will be held and firm plans established. He said dirt could be moved at the site as early as this fall.
“It’s taken some time, and of course, we would not have got this far without Mark (Hill), but I think taking a little more time to get things done right and listening to everybody is the way to go,” he said.
FOURTH OF JULY ALREADY?
Yep — hard to believe.
Here at Citizen central, we are printing one day early next week to beat the Thursday holiday.
Also, if you plan on taking in the annual Platte City fireworks display, remember that it will be held July 5 this year at Pirates Stadium. See our story on page A2 for details.
Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by email at email@example.com or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.