Parkville officials get look at downtown plan

After months of meetings, input and sometimes-heated discussions, the Parkville Board of Aldermen was last week presented with the draft of the Downtown Master Plan. Assistant City Administrator Sean Ackerson re-introduced Ken Boone, owner and director at Ochsner, Hare and Hare, who has been tasked to head up the master planning process. Ackerson said the process is now about 75-percent complete, as the funding for the study ends at the end of this month. “This is big,” Boone said, holding up a hard copy of the plan for the Board. “It’s about 300 pages so far and it’s going to get bigger.” The master planning process was kicked off in September 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 Let’s Talk Parkville Web 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 was incorporated into the presentation. Characterizations of downtown Parkville as a quaint but struggling area continued and Boone said there is a lot of apprehension about the future, but also hope. One of the main lessons learned about the future of downtown is that present residents and property and business owners want any potential new development to “fit.” “The concept of ‘fit’ is huge,” Boone said. “And you’ll see it again and again in the report. People recognize that there are already things downtown that don’t fit the downtown character, they want to see things fit in the future.” While the concept of “fit” may seem nebulous, there seemed to be consensus that be it new or redevelopment, additions to the downtown area should blend with the historical nature and materials of most of the present structures. Businesses that add to Parkville’s reputation as a unique shopping destination were also part of the “fit” concept.