Wiedmaier and Ivan Foley
A pile of construction materials was recently
burned instead of physically removed at Platte
Ridge Park. I wasnt there and I
dont know who did it, park director
Dannie Stamper told The Landmark. My department
didnt start that fire or put it out.
Performance of maintenance at Platte
City's parks has been thrust to the spotlight, with
the county threatening to declare the city in default
of a maintenance agreement at Platte Ridge Park.
The city and county have a partnership
at Platte Ridge, with the county owning the land
and city now responsible for maintenance and development.
In addition to problems at Platte
Ridge, questions about upkeep and safety at another
city park, Riverview, are being raised with fencing
materials being stored in plain view in close proximity
to basketball courts.
I honestly dont know
why Platte Ridge is in the shape its in,
said Bill Burnett, president of Platte Citys
park board. There are probably some things
that we did neglect and overlooked that we should
have focused on more.
The city solely owns Riverview Park,
which overlooks the Platte River on the west part
of town. Riverview is not a part of the agreement
with Platte County, which involves only Platte Ridge.
The Platte County commissioners
sent Dannie Stamper, director of Platte City parks
and recreation, a letter dated Dec. 21 outlining
areas where the county believes the city has neglected
to uphold its part of the original agreement to
maintain Platte Ridge Park, located along Hwy. 371
north of Tracy. The city has a 90 day period to
cure the material defaults, the letter
stated or the county has the right to take over
the park and/or seek a new partnership with another
entity at Platte Ridge.
The letter from the commissioners
also said, The defaults involve deficiencies
in the boards performance in the areas of
maintenance of the park and related safety and security
issues which the board has not adequately addressed.
A major issue at Platte Ridge, according
to the county, is the fact that the city park board
chose to proceed with construction of a baseball
complex, although the parks master plan deemed
this a future stage. This action has resulted in
eroded surfaces, slopes and ditches in the area.
The letter alleges the city park board has not established
any type of erosion control to stabilize the surface.
The board has also laid gravel surfacing in the
baseball complex parking lot without considering
the parks original engineering design. This
has also caused erosion maintenance issues, the
The board also removed soil at the
pedestrian entrance to the baseball complex, deciding
to transport the removed soil to another city park.
Platte County says the park board
has failed to address the soccer complex as a priority,
causing erosion between the south soccer fields.
The letter states this area presents a safety hazard.
There are barbed wire fences on the park property
remaining from old farm fences. These have not been
removed and cause another safety hazard. The commissioners
also requested the board take responsibility for
the publics safety while they visit the property.
Specifically, caution and warning
signage need to be posted as well as construction
barriers. Other safety hazards not taken care of
include open ditches and uneven surfaces.
The citys other park, Riverview,
has materials sitting on the property which have
been left there for over a year. Bundles of fencing--showing
some signs of discoloration and deterioration--rest
abandoned on the ground. Stamper said the fencing
was donated, and his department will eventually
That old fencing was given
to us free of charge by a business near the airport,
Stamper said. It cant rust because its
galvanized metal. Its been there for a year
and it will be fine where it is until we have time
to install it.
Keith Moody, Platte Citys
city administrator, said he anticipates the parks
and recreation department will install the fencing
and said I dont see it sitting there
as an unsafe condition for anyone.
A pile of construction materials
rested on the Platte Ridge property before it was
burned in an above- ground fire. Stamper said this
pile was burned approximately two weeks ago.
The materials in the burn pile include
what appear to be everything from shovels, rocks,
scrap metal, nails, steel cables, cans, and electrical
Since the park is outside of the
city limits and inside the county instead, the city
has no jurisdiction to issue burning permits at
that location. A representative for the countys
planning and zoning department said nothing exists
called a burning permit from the county
and directed inquiries to the Central Platte Fire
It was just building material
that was burned, said Stamper. There
were some two by fours and that sort of thing. My
department didnt start that fire or put it
out. I wasnt there and I dont know who
did it. I never called the fire department to tell
them and we didnt have a permit.
The county doesnt have
any burn permits to obtain either, said Larry
Bigus, chief of the Central Platte Fire Department.
The city writes the ordinances, and we go
by what they say. If they needed to get any permit
at all for burning that stuff, it would have been
a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) permit.
Karl Fett, regional director for
the DNR, said no permit would have been needed.
But Fett said he is curious about the recent burn,
explaining that things such as wiring, any plastics,
paint cans, etc. are not allowed to be set on fire
because materials of that nature "release unhealthy
by-products when burned.
Fett said his department is "very
familiar" with Riverview Park, but not Platte
Ridge Park. He said DNR issued the city a violation
on June 13 of last year for burning at Riverview
Park near the compost pile. Fett said that offense
involved the burning of plastic trash and other
We would never allow burning
of that kind of waste, Fett said.
He said that violation was issued
to Leonard Hendricks, city public works director.
Fett said there was no fine because it was the city's
first offense, indicating DNR is lenient on initial
offenders. Other offenses would subject the city
to a possible fine, he explained.
The complaint in June had been made
by a neighbor.
Asked about the recent burning of
the construction materials at Platte Ridge, Moody
stated: I presume Dannie (Stamper) is in charge
of that area.
Moody said he knew nothing of the
burned materials at the public park.
I was not aware of anything
being burned there, said Moody. Was
it located near a building of some sort? Otherwise
there would be no need for the fire department to
be there when it happened. As for getting a permit
beforehand, Im not sure of those procedures.
The commissioners stated the following
in their original letter to Stamper in late December:
The board has failed to remove dangerous debris
on the south side of the pond located in the family
recreation area, including tin metal, a cattle trough,
barbed wire, and other miscellaneous debris piles.
The city stated in its response
letter how the issue will be taken care of.
These materials were placed
in this location by the contractor, and are not
viewed as the responsibility of the board to clean
up, the citys letter said. But
the board will have the items removed and disposed
of off site.
Burnett, in an interview in The
Landmark office last week, said he was also unaware
of the burned pile of materials at Platte Ridge
I thought it was a brush pile,
said Burnett. I dont know what was in
the pile, but I do know it will be cleaned up, even
if I have to personally go out there and do it myself.
As for the overall issue of park
maintenance, Burnett said he thinks the parks department
as currently staffed can handle it.
Burnett said he wouldn't blame anyone
for the current state of parks maintenance.
"I don't want to slam anybody.
We've got some issues and I'm trying to take care
of them," he said, adding he has been park
board president for only two months. He has served
on the board since January of 2005.
"If the county looks at it
(Platte Ridge Park) within a month, theyll
see an improvement. I think we can tackle it,
he said. Youve got to have communication.
Maybe if our parks board talks more to Brian (Nowotny,
director of parks for Platte County) and their park
board, maybe we can take care of these issues.