Workers return to city hall; park remains closed

City government is back at city hall in Weston, with the move back into the Main Street building completed on Monday.

Late last week, the city issued a press release regarding the situation at another city facility — the downtown park, which remains closed due to contamination concerns.

“If persons enter the park they are doing so at their own risk,” the release states. “If anyone does enter the park it is strongly suggested that they wash their hands in the nearest restroom. The nearest public restroom facility is at the Thomas Street entrance to the park.”

The closure does not affect downtown businesses or special events, although an Easter egg hunt scheduled for this weekend at the park has been moved to Benner Park instead.

At the Monday, April 8 board of aldermen meeting the board heard an update on the situation at the park, from park board president Rick Stout. Stout said that while the city’s public works crews had done an excellent job picking up debris and cleaning hard surfaces at the park, there were still concerns about microbial and fecal contamination in the soil and playground mulch. Although the mulch can be replaced, the Platte County Board of Health recommended the city keep the park closed for up to 90 days – barring another flood event, which would reset the time table.

In the release, the city said the decision to keep the park closed was based on post-flooding procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Also at the April 8 meeting, the board decided to table any further discussions on the replacement of the Humes Road bridge until the city learns if it received grant funding. Last month, alderman Rebecca Rooney questioned if the city should be involved in replacing the bridge at all, stating she believed it was on private property. Aldermen and other city officials pointed out that the city has maintained the bridge for decades. While paperwork formally turning the bridge over to the city may or may not exist, officials – including the city attorney – state that the bridge is the city’s responsibility.

“We own it because we’ve worked on it for 20-plus years and we have citizens who live on the other side of it,” said alderman James Lowe.

The board also heard an update on sales taxes paid – or not paid – by vendors at city festivals, including Applefest. Recently, the city learned most independent vendors had not paid city sales tax for sales made at events such as Applefest and the Burley House Market.

“It’s got to be extremely clear to vendors that they need to pay that,” Lowe said during the Chamber’s monthly report.

The board approved the event application for the 2019 Applefest, to be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6, with the caveat that vendors needed to comply with city law.

Reminders of city sales tax collections will also be sent to other festival organizers, including Irishfest, the Weston Wine Festival and the Polish Pottery Festival.