Main Street building deemed blighted by Parkville aldermen

The former Finders Keepers antique store in downtown Parkville has become the latest source of controversy for the city.

Developer Brian Mertz — already having drawn the ire of some residents due to the Creekside development on the western edge of the city — recently purchased the two connected buildings at 16 Main Street.

At the Tuesday, April 2 meeting of the board of aldermen, the group voted to designate the property as blighted, paving the way for the developer to possibly seek public financial assistance in the future. Area residents have since expressed concerns to local media —some anonymously — questioning the validity of the designation.

The findings of a blight study conducted by Sterrett Urban were presented at the meeting, outlining the history and condition of the two buildings that made up Finders Keepers —which has relocated to the Parkville Antique Mall. The two-story building was built in 1890 and has been home to a dry goods store, the Parkville Post Office and more. It was once remodeled, in the 1920s. Around that time, the one-story building on the corner of Main and Highway FF was built. That building was the location of the city’s first U.S. Post Office.

The buildings are both deteriorating, according to the study. The electrical system is outdated and dangerous and the breaker panels cannot handle modern loads. The building lacks proper ventilation — leading to mold —and proper egress in the event of fire and the second story of the larger building is sagging and in danger of collapse. The building also contains asbestos and evidence of termite activity.

Additionally, the foundation at the back of one building had completely caved in, Mertz said, and the wall had to be immediately stabilized to shore up the supports for the mini golf course above it.

“To say that we got into more than we expected would be an understatement,” Mertz said of the condition of the buildings.

All that would remain of the original buildings after rehabilitation work is complete are the brick facades, he said. Once the buildings are brought up to code, and separated, the developers plan to seek a historical building declarations.

Eventually, one of the structures could be the home of a new Irish pub.

Alderman Greg Plumb noted that the blight declaration did not affect the current property tax collected on the building. Already, tax collections on the building were lower than for surrounding properties due to deterioration. Future tax collections could only increase in the future, once the assessed value of the building increased as well.

The Creekside development has also been moving forward. A special board meeting was held Tuesday, April 23, where aldermen approved the second reading of a development agreement with the developers for portions of the Creekside project within a newly-formed TIF (tax increment financing) area.

The redevelopment agreement was part of the terms of the TIF process, serving as a contract between the city and developer. The TIF was initially approved in February.

Also this month, the board approved a state of emergency due to flooding in the city. This enables the city to work with Platte County and state authorities for reimbursement of funds expended during the emergency.

The condition of the dog parks in Platte Landing Park is of particular concern, as the fencing has been damaged and the fields are clogged with silt from the flood waters. The city is considering options for temporary dog parks.