City of Parkville close to finalizing acquisition of Platte Landing Park

PARKVILLE, Mo. — The Parkville Board of Aldermen took the first steps in acquiring the 131-acre Platte Landing Park from Platte County at its regular Tuesday, Sept. 5 board meeting. The board unanimously approved the first reading of the land transfer agreement, with Parkville “purchasing” the park from Platte County at the cost of $1.

The Platte County Commissioners approached City of Parkville officials with a proposal to hand over the county-owned park earlier this year. Since, the city has been working toward making the transfer a reality.

“It was an easy decision,” Parkville director of public works Alysen Abel said. “The city is already contributing staff hours for maintenance of the park, and ownership would give us greater control over the development of the park and in park programming without seeking approval from the county.”

The board agreed, with final approval scheduled for the Tuesday, Sept. 19 regular meeting.

Consolidating ownership of the entire two-park area will create a nearly 200-acre riverfront park, featuring walking trails, dog park, boat ramp, fields and other amenities. Platte Landing Park is located directly adjacent to English Landing Park at the foot of Main Street,

Platte County purchased Platte Landing Park from the Kringle family in 2008 with the intention of creating a second riverfront park, using funds from the one-half cent parks, recreation and stormwater sales tax.

In 2011, the city andPlatteCountyentered into a memorandum of understanding for the cooperative planning, development and management of the new park. The city pledged to handle daily operation andmaintenance with the county footing the bill for major capital improvements.

Due to budgetary concerns, the project was scaled back, but opened to the public in 2014 with an off-leash dog park and federally-funded boat ramp into the Missouri River.

The city handled mowing, tree pruning, trash removal, trail surface maintenance and minor road maintenance. It also raised much of the funding necessary to complete the trail and give Parkville the loop trail necessary to host larger 10K race events.

Additionally, as part of the city’s parks master plan conducted last year, baseball fields, multi-use fields and a Corps of Engineers wetland restoration project are slated for the park.

“The wetlands project is the key element to the phasing of the 2016 Parks Master Plan,” Abel said in her report. “The dirt excavated to construct the wetlands can be used to build up the elevation of the ball fields.”

This includes a future lacrosse field, as the city recently approved a partnership agreement with Park Girls Lacrosse to construct that league’s home field in Platte Landing Park.

Earlier this year, the Platte County commissioners showed little interest in assisting with funding of the Corps of Engineers wetland project. Commissioners have made several moves over the last year to scale down the county’s parks department, including putting the county-owned golf course Shiloh Springs up for sale last month.

As part of the transfer agreement, Abel said the city would continue to seek some financial assistance from Platte County, primarily in the form of the Platte County Parks and Recreation Outreach Grants, which are awarded each year during the lifespan of the parks tax. The tax is set to expire in 2020 with the current commissioners considering reallocating part of the current parks tax for other uses.

Platte County will also agree, as part of the transfer, to make a one-time capital maintenance fund payment of $236,000, to help offset future improvement costs for the next 20 years. The city will also assume responsibility for the existing agreement with the Missouri Department of Conservation for maintenance of the boat ramp and access drive.

Also at the meeting, the board accepted the report from its strategic planning workshop, held last month. The board met to refine strategic priorities, identify priorities to move forward with in the next budget year and strengthen working relationships between members of the board.

Basic goals identified included promoting the revitalization of downtown; investigating development options for the city-owned properties at Interstate 435 and Highway 45; conducting a comprehensive capital improvement plan; focusing on Highway 9 improvements and identifying revenue growth options. The retreat was facilitated by former interim city administrator Kirk Davis and Randy Pennington of Pennington Performance Group.