by Stacy Wiedmaier
A Parkville sidewalk and retaining wall edging closely to Mill Street was a safety concern aired at Tuesday evening’s board of aldermen meeting.
The rock wall formation covered by chicken wire was addressed at their previous meeting, but public works director Dan Koch promised to look into the situation.
Mill Street is surrounded by businesses on both the north and south sides. The west junction of Mill Street ends at Main, between The Power Plant Restaurant & Brewery and The Sweet Guy. Driving westward from downtown, Parkville Mini Golf can be seen atop the hill where a narrow sidewalk and rock formations lie. The Ward 1 aldermen’s complaints are not that the wall is unstable, but instead there is no walking room for pedestrians and a deep drop-off exists to reach the road.
“Jim Brooks and I are both well aware of this situation,” said Ward 1 alderman Deborah Butcher. “It’s a safety issue that needs to be addressed and not just for beautification reasons. Two pedestrians cannot walk side by side on that thin sidewalk without being in danger of passing vehicles. Those of us that live in The Bluffs use this route to walk to the park; it connects us.”
As Butcher pushed for a possible solution, Koch said he was unaware how long the retaining wall had existed, it was before his tenure. After audience members voiced their opinions it had been in use longer than 15 years, Koch agreed the area needs multiple improvements.
“Because of the length, it’s unable to be done in stages or sectionalized in any way,” Koch said. “The retaining wall does not bulge anywhere from our inspections and there’s no rust visible. The city needs to contact our firm that we have on call for these types of items, Shafer, Kline and Warren. A site design needs to be looked into and we need an engineer’s estimate.”
Brooks said the area is not well lit for those pedestrians who are trying to step from the sidewalk to the road two feet below, while alderman Marvin Ferguson said, “If you slip off that sidewalk, you’ll throw yourself in front of a moving car going 35 miles an hour or more.”
Questioning whether the wall could be considered blighted, alderman Marc Sportsman brought the idea to the board about placing heavy cables between the roadway and pedestrians.
“That retaining wall is doing the leaning tower of Pisa bit,” Sportsman said. “It’s not safe for people to walk along there right now.”
Koch said using cables, guardrails or fencing was not feasible according to a fencing company who came to view the area in question. He said a retaining wall specialist needed to be called in for this job.
“It’s just too narrow to place a rail up,” Koch said. “Cars and snow plows would hit it too frequently.”
Koch said he has not measured the retaining wall and is uncertain of its length. Parkville Mayor Kathy Dusenbery was absent due to illness and mayor pro tem Ferguson conducted the meeting in her place. Both aldermen Jeff Bay and David McCoy were also absent with notice.