As the exits pile up, the state of the KCI Corridor continues to erode and simultaneously raise concern about its status.As you can read more about in this week’s edition, WireCo WorldGroup created another large vacancy with the announcement of plans to move its headquarters across the state line to Kansas. This has progressed from troubling to an alarming trend. What can be done?
Kansas doesn’t show any sign of ceasing its programs to offer tax breaks to companies willing to relocate from out of state. This metro area border war continues to benefit one side and hurt the other, but there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.
Even if it does end, the damage is done.
WireCo and Dairy Farmers of America have both announced intentions to leave during the past few months. That’s two of the largest private employers in the KCI Corridor gone, creating more empty office space.
In an email last week, Platte County Economic Development Council director Alicia Stephens called the vacancy rate “too high.” There have been a few minor additions, but luring in a big-time company to fill a large space is a daunting task that will likely involve a little luck.
There’s plenty good on the development front, as we highlighted in our special Spotlight in Platte County section in this week’s edition, but it’s important to note that not all of the news is good.
The Horizons Development in southern Platte County continues to create jobs, but the loss of WireCo and DFA offsets a lot of those gains. Add in the pending Harley Davidson plant layoffs, and there’s reason for frustration.
If nothing else, further developments — positive or negative — are worth continuing to tally.
I think we have the impact of Jim Farley’s death covered throughout this issue, so I didn’t want to spend too much time here, but what a fascinating story.
I knew Farley on the periphery as child.
I am a former member of the First Christian Church, while Farley remained active in his faith at that location for many years. Nothing really stands out in my memory of our interactions, which were probably brief considering our age difference.
That’s really a shame.
From what I’ve heard and researched, I crossed paths with an extremely interesting and influential person and never really knew. I certainly gathered a greater understanding of what he meant to Platte City and all of Platte County while writing my story this week.
I truly hope the words do the man justice.
The Platte County R-3 School District has a lot to do in a short time, at least viewed through the idea of construction and renovations to get multiple buildings ready for occupancy in little more than a year.
Boundary lines need drawn to separate the two Platte City elementary school populations. Teachers must be shuffled. Rising Star will need to be closed, and the historic building’s future decided.
In a conversation with superintendent Dr. Mike Reik this week, we chatted about the future, and there’s much more to know when it comes to extended future of the district’s master plan. There’s some pretty fascinating concepts when trying to consider the long-term future of a district far from finished growing. I plan to delve more into that in the coming months and try to bring the readers a comprehensive look at what the district has in mind.
One major note for now involves the renovation of Paxton School.
The creation of the second elementary school opens up Paxton for high school occupancy. Currently, Paxton serves only fourth and fifth grade students from the north part of the district.
The plan for Paxton as it relates to the recent tax levy voters approved in the April 7 general municipal election is to have high school students using the building in 2016-17. However, that doesn’t mean it will be connected to the existing high school.
Reik said the school will likely keep the Paxton name, but the $29-million project the levy funds will not include construction of a connecting hall from the south end of the building to what might become known as the Paxton Annex or something similar.
I found that to be a key point.
That helped prompt further discussion which showed that officials can now release more details about the long-range plan to the public. That does include a connection in the future, by the way.
I plan to talk about that and plenty more once I can get around to doing more research and truly diving into the details.
I survived my short vacation. Three whole days with no cell service, indoor plumbing or showers.
Yes, my wife was excited to smell me when I returned Sunday afternoon.
The Jack’s Fork River in southern Missouri provides plenty of beautiful natural scenery. I’m always amazed by the bluffs.
One thing that didn’t amaze me on this trip?
An idiot had apparently repelled down the side of Chalk Bluff, the most scenic on the stretch we floated, and spray painted “WHA THE HELL?” in large letters using green and orange spray paint.
What the hell?
What kind of idiot goes through that much trouble on a humongous rock face, putting his or herself in danger, to deface nature like that? Even in the wilds of Missouri, I received a reminder that people can be really, really dumb.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.