The Platte City Board of Aldermen plans to continue looking at the future of facilities and transportation during the coming fiscal year.
Preliminary budget discussions for 2017-2018 concluded last week with the economic development subcommittee. Supplemental requests recommended for funding again include the downtown and residential revitalization programs at a reduced amount along with the start of demolition for two aging city properties and a Highway 92 study.
The city budgeted about $40,000 for Phase I demolition of the Rising Star Elementary building and the east wing of the Platte City Civic Center, which previously housed the Platte City Police Department. This would be the first of two planned phases with completion of the project set for the fiscal year of 2018-19.
According to the city, Phase I consists of prep work and detailed cost estimation of Phase II. The two buildings would be inspected to determine the scope of work and provide the basis for funding needed to finish demolition, material disposal and site repair.
The demolition project will clean up the Rising Star site, acquired last year from the Platte County R-3 School District, for “future public use and prevent it from becoming a neighborhood/community eyesore.” The east wing of the civic center, closed in 2013 due to structural deficiencies and the presence of dangerous levels of radon, forcing the police department to relocate to its current site on Main Street.
The civic center site will also be cleared for potential future use.
In addition, the city wants to further its study to determine the requirements for future police, administrative and public works facilities. The subcommittee heard a recommendation to spend about $40,000 to build on a 2014 study to develop conceptual alternatives for future facilty needs, including basic cost estimation.
Currently, the city operates city hall, the police department, public works and the parks department and municipal court in separate aging facilities. Recently, the board voted to transfer municipal court duties to the Platte County Circuit Court in a process that could take up to six months.
However, the city wants to look at potential locations to centralize some city functions, although that property has not been specifically identified. The Rising Star property would be one potential spot, but it has previously been linked to upgrades for a pool/aquatic facility and possible community center.
The 2014 study determined that the aging facilities required repair and renovation work so extensive that the city couldn’t fiscally justify providing funds. Instead, the money would be more responsibly spent in trying to build new.
The average age of City Hall, Platte City Civic Center and public works facilities was 75 years in 2014 with the original portion of the civic center dating back more than 100 years. The current city hall was built in the 1960s and previously served as the post office.
The public works building is more than two decades old but still with significant structural issues that will need to be addressed.
“These buildings have all served the City well, but are approaching the end of their life expectancies,” Platte City city administrator DJ Gehrt said in 2014.
In addition to city facilities, home and business owners will still have the opportunity to upgrade buildings through the city’s matching grant revitalization program.
The board plans to cut the funding in half from $200,000 to $100,000 with the commercial and residential allocations being split at $50,000 apiece. Over the past two years, the grant program has resulted in more than $400,000 of private investment.
The subcommittee also talked about phasing out the program but did not give a specific timeline on whether it would end after this fiscal year or be further reduced in the future before being eliminated.
Currently, homes more than 25 years old and business along Main Street and the surrounding C-1 district downtown are eligible. The city provides matching funds — up to $10,000 for residential and up to $20,000 for commercial — for eligible projects.
City staff has been pleased with the visual results and hopes to eventually measure the impact on property values.
The proposed traffic engineering study for Highway 92 in Platte City hopes to provide staff with requirements for the final buildout of a four-way roadway during the next 25 years. A study completed in 2016 recommends that Highway 92 between Bethel Avenue and Interstate 29 eventually be remade into a four-lane divided highway to match future development.
To complete the proposed project, 130 feet of right-of-way would be needed with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) currently owning 80 feet.
“Developing a conceptual alignment and vertical road profile provides the city, MoDOT and property owners with the information needed to include right of way discussions/issues as part of any development plan/development agreement,” the city wrote in a report. “The sooner the city is able to identify and preserve the Highway 92 right of way, the easier and less expensive it will be to obtain the needed right of way and build the ultimate road design.”
Cost of the study is estimated at about $35,000 with completion targeted for May of 2018.