by Stacy Wiedmaier
Platte City’s Board of Aldermen on Tuesday discussed the ongoing maintenance issues at Platte Ridge Park, with Mayor Dave Brooks once again defending the city's role and criticizing the county.
The county owns the park property, but the city signed a maintenance agreement that the county says they are not upholding. Platte Ridge is located on Hwy. 371 and has been facing maintenance issues, including erosion, piles of debris, safety and security issues.
At a city parks and recreation board meeting held last week, members decided to forego signing the county’s proposed addendum to the operations and maintenance agreement. They instead voted to continue working on the projects until further notice.
On April 4, parks director Dannie Stamper met with the mayor, city administrator and city attorney at city hall to compose a letter to the county that states their position and requests another meeting with county commissioners.
It is possible the county commission will discuss the issue at its meeting set for Thursday afternoon.
“What we’re supposed to do is in the eyes of the beholder,” said mayor Brooks. “The last so-called letter from the county was ridiculous and we’re back where we started now. The county made a promise. Dannie (Stamper) and his men are already working long hours fixing the issues, over and above the norm. There are hundreds of hours of labor that have been done out there, too much to keep track of. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent. But that doesn't seem to make any difference to the county. It’s like the city can’t do enough in the county’s eyes.”
Alderman Aaron Jung interrupted Brooks, though Brooks resisted.
"I'm telling my story to the newspapers and that's it," Brooks quickly said, as Jung stated he felt this discussion was headed down a negative path and the item had turned into a “bashing session.”
Brooks responded by pointing his finger at Jung while saying: “Just ask anyone. I'm telling the truth.”
Jung told Brooks: “That is the truth according to how you see it.”
"That's true but you can ask a lot of people and they'll tell you that's how it happened," Brooks said.
Stamper shared with the aldermen that he had organized a packet about this parks issue to be placed in their mailboxes describing the timeline of maintenance deadlines and copies of past correspondence letters between the city and county. When Jung raised the issue about why the parks board did not sign the operation addendum last week, discussion remained lively.
“We didn’t sign that because the county wants to control our money,” said Bill Burnett, parks board president.
Stamper agreed by stating, “Bottom line, we don’t want to give the county that kind of control.”
Stamper later stated it would take one man working full time to keep up the maintenance issues at Platte Ridge. Burnett added that he thinks the parks board is making progress and it would be nice to hear some positive feedback from the county once in awhile.
“We’ve had no feedback on the work we already did,” said Burnett. “There’s issues at the park but there’s issues everywhere. We said there was no quick fix and it would take some time. We’re trying and if we fail, then you can’t say we didn’t try. We’re trying to run this park with minimal staff. We only got one tractor that moves so fast. We can’t fix things overnight.”
City administrator Keith Moody agreed the parks board is continuing to address the maintenance issues. He said some work has been completed and some more is in progress. Stamper concluded that the board “could easily wrap up the rest of the maintenance by mid May.”