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'Pocket park' proposed for end of Main Street

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Developing a small park with a picnic area, walking trail and scenic overview outlook is envisioned by members of the Platte City Area Development Association (PCADA).

The park would be located at the bottom (west end) of Platte City's Main Street near the Platte River. PCADA members say the park would be of historic significance.

The lay of the land will probably not allow for vehicle traffic or parking in the area, so the park would be accessed by a stairway built into the current embankment. The picnic area would be a level space located above flood plain levels.

From the picnic area, a walking trail would proceed down along the bluff area between the river and steep embankment toward the north.

The proposed scenic outlook would be an elevated platform built on the eastern most bridge abutment and be accessed by a metal stairway. This outlook would be constructed similar to the Missouri River overlook located in the Weston Bend State Park.

Olin Miller presented details of the background of the property and of the proposal to PCADA members at a luncheon meeting Monday at the Platte County Grill. Around 25 people—the most ever to attend a meeting of the less-than-a-year-old organization—were in attendance.

Mary Ann Brooks and Bill Knighton have also worked on the project proposal.

Funding help will be sought by applying for an outreach grant from the Platte County Commission. That grant money is courtesy of the county's half cent sales tax for parks. The grant application is due to the county by Feb. 28.

The park would be located on 3.7 acres of private property. The family owning the property has been receptive to the idea of either donating the property or leasing it out at a cost of $1 per year, it was reported by association members.

In addition to applying for the county grant, assistance would also be sought from the Platte City Parks and Recreation Committee. Plans also call to seek help from the Platte County Historical Society to establish this as an historic landmark area.

As the plan proceeds, more detailed drawings will be made and a committee will be formed to determine which work will be done by volunteers and how much work will need to be hired.

Also being discussed is the idea of connecting the pocket park/trail to a potential trail that would run along property behind the Platte City Cemetery. Mayor Dave Brooks said he has been in recent discussions with Don Soper, who owns property near the cemetery, about acquiring that land, possibly through a donation from Soper.

According to information provided at Monday's meeting by Miller, the original settlement known as Martinsville was located on the Platte River between the upper and lower falls on the river. Founder Zed Martin maintained a river crossing that allowed settlers and their wagons to cross the Platte River and continue on the Old Military Road to the river ford on the Missouri River leading into Fort Leavenworth.

This ford was located near the present-day Platte River Bridge. Prior to 1900, a bridge over the Platte River was built at the west end of Main Street and traveled across the bottom connecting to the Old Military Road. Hwy. 71 ran down Main Street and across this bridge.

In the mid-1930s, the first elevated pike running across the bottoms to Tracy was built. It was the steel truss bridge which many Platte City residents remember crossing on Hwy. 92.

The old bridge at the bottom of Main Street was removed except for the three stone piers.