Platte City officials detail revitalization grant program, satisfied with early returns

Not only has the City of Platte City experienced positive early returns on its pilot revitalization project program, but neighboring municipalities have also taken notice of the efforts.

Platte City city administrator DJ Gehrt presented the Platte City Board of Aldermen’s economic development subcommittee with a detailed list of projects. The board also recommended approval of another large-scale commercial project.

Overall, more than $425,000 worth of projects have been completed or planned with the city using nearly all of its $200,000 commitment in the matching grant program.

“I’ve been very happy with it,” Ward I alderman and economic development subcommittee chairman Vickie Atkins said. “I appreciate the update on this. It’s good to see it’s all over. We have the Main Street for our commercial, but it’s all over (town) when it comes to residential. It’s not just in one pocket.”

In total, 17 homeowners have planned, started or completed projects with most focusing on basic exterior improvements — driveways, walkways, siding, windows, etc. The projected total cost of the residential projects comes in at $212,779.30 with some of them already coming in under budget.

Elected officials in attendance at the meeting expressed satisfaction with the physical changes on completed projects, including one house which replaced 33 windows.

“It is doing what we were hoping,” Gehrt said.

Although no commercial projects have started, initial estimates for seven total projects also comes in at just less than $213,000.

The board of aldermen will have a chance to approve the latest submission, which came from Pine’s Barber Shop. Ron Pine, longtime owner, plans to spend about $46,000 on a project that includes and updated façade, new floors, new countertops and sinks, new ceiling and a renovated bathroom.

This will be the second of three projects required to go before the board of aldermen because the city’s commitment will be more than $15,000, which is more than Gehrt’s authority for approval.

The reception has also been good from neighboring cities Parkville, Smithville and Kearney. Gehrt said all have been in contact about the program and looking into how to start similar programs — either just commercial or both commercial and residential like Platte City’s.

“The word gets out that it’s a very positive thing,” Gehrt said.

Projects were reviewed and funds allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, and no more projects will be accepted, unless the program is extended or continued at some point in the future.

Eligibility for the residential program was limited to owner-occupied, single-family homes with the main structure at least 25 years old. Gehrt said most of the 17 involved concrete work but others included garage doors, windows, siding, etc.

All residential projects were for a minimum of $5,000 and maximum of $20,000 with the city and private owner splitting the costs.

The business grant program was for a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $40,000, leaving the city’s obligations between $5,000 and $20,000. Businesses must be located in Platte City’s C1 business district, which stretches along Main Street from just east of Fourth Street to Settler’s Crossing Park. 

The area also extends a half block north and south of Main Street. 

Sprint Lumber at 420 Main St. went with the largest project and maxing out the city’s $20,000 contribution. The company also plans to invest $41,000 of its own money to completely redo the façade of the building along with an addition at the rear of the store.

Rusty Hill and now Pine’s Barber Shop have also planned projects for $40,000 or more. Pine will likely be the first to start a commercial project.

The City of Platte City hopes to increase property values through the program. As with many established cities in Missouri, Platte City faces the challenge of an aging inventory of single family residential properties and aging downtown business structures.

Atkins reaffirmed her stance of wanting to include the revitalization program in the upcoming fiscal budget due to the positive early returns. A decision on whether or not to commit the funds in the next fiscal year’s budget will be made at a later date.

In the first year, the city allocated almost all of the $200,000 budgeted for the program in a span of about three months.