Highway 9 improvements clears hurdle

Parkville is one step closer to launching its Highway 9 improvements with the start of right-of-way and easement acquisitions discussed last week.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 3 meeting of the board of aldermen, the board voted to move ahead with the process, which involves obtaining right-of-way and easement agreements on 40 parcels. Final approval of the ordinance is expected next week. The property owners range from the Riss Lake Community Association, Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter, Don Julian Builders, River North Development, residential property owners and more.

According to director of public works Alysen Abel, property owners are for the most part supportive of the road improvement project. The ordinance does include provisions for condemnation of property if negotiations fail.

“As with any of these kinds of projects you have the unknowns, which could really hang up the project,” Abel said.

Temporary and some permanent easements will be required, as the city plans to reconstruct the highway into a three-lane roadway with modern curbs, gutters, sidewalks, lighting and traffic signals. The first phase of the project is from Highway 45 south to Lakeview Drive.

Mayor Nan Johnston questioned if any properties in question were slated for condemnation. Abel said they were not, and the approval of the process was simply a necessary precaution to put procedures in place, should they be needed.

Appraiser Bliss Associates was contracted by the city in 2018 and has since started work on appraisals for the entire Hwy. 9 project, which eventually will reconstruct the corridor all the way through downtown Parkville.

Also at the meeting, the board gave final approval to allow electronic message signs via conditional use permit in residential areas abutting a highway. The measure passed the board on a 5-1-2 vote, with aldermen Marc Sportsman and Dave Rittman abstaining due to their relationship with the applicant, Parkville Presbyterian Church. Alderman Phil Wassmer voted no.