Parkville consultant says City, downtown need to be on same page

Downtown Parkville has potential and the City and downtown residents and business owners need to work together to maximize it. Ken Boone, owner and director at consulting firm Ochsner, Hare and Hare, last week updated the Board of Aldermen on the Downtown Master Plan process and said that is what he has been hearing so far. A meeting will be held Oct. 28 at the American Legion Hall to present the findings to the public.

The master plan was kicked off early last month with a meeting at the American Legion Hall and followed by additional meetings at the Hall and at the Platte County Community Center South. A two-day design charette was also held at the Hall.

The Web site at the Let’s Talk Parkville site, located at, features conceptual designs that came out of the charette, including possible logos, downtown monument entryway designs, pedestrian walkways and other ideas. Feedback from the Web site will be incorporated into a presentation to be made to the Board in November.

“No matter what you do, things are going to change,” Boone said. “How this change is confronted and managed will make all the difference in the future of downtown.”

Participants described downtown Parkville as historic and quaint, but many also said it was struggling. Parking was seen as the biggest challenge to the downtown area; also of concern to many were “land rights issues.” Residents and business owners were concerned that the master plan would create new regulations to which they would be forced to adhere.

“Are you sure it doesn’t mean ‘forced to adhere to existing regulations?’” asked Alderman Marc Sportsman. “Because that’s how I take it.”

Boone assured him this was not the case and he had heard the concern from numerous people. Mayor Jim Brooks agreed, a sentiment then echoed by several other aldermen. The consultants noted that while many admitted there should be regulations, often they did not want the regulations to apply to them.

That is only one of the concerns residents have brought to Ochsner, Hare and Hare.

“Interpersonal issues downtown have led to numerous issues over time,” Boone said. “I think this is one of the big things that needs to be solved down there to see change.”

He said many people had told him of interpersonal conflicts among those involved in downtown Parkville and that it has led to lack of participation from many. This problem compounds the conception that change is hard to come by and is a perceived lack of leadership.

Another concern is lack of adherence to posted hours of business, with complaints that businesses are often not open for the tourists that are meant to be the district’s lifeblood.