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Riverview Park used as temporary dump site

by Shana Haines and Ivan Foley
Landmark staff

Platte City officials have stated that next year they plan to change the way they handle items such as appliances from the citywide clean-up.

On April 8, 9, and 10 Platte City held its annual clean up days for residents. Many of the items were then dumped in an open parking area near the basketball court at Riverview Park and left for two weeks before they were removed on Monday of this week, city officials said.

Numerous residents brought the dumping to The Landmark's attention this week.

According to City Administrator Keith Moody, the items—which consisted of household appliances, furniture and tires, etc.—are usually dropped behind the city's wastewater treatment plant where the city houses a compost heap. The treatment plant is located in an area of town near the park.

However, this year the items were dumped in the park.

"I would prefer the items not be stockpiled on the parking lot," Moody said.

Dannie Stamper, parks and recreation director for the city, says he recalls the city placing similar items at the park after last year's cleanup.

"The city used the same site last year," Stamper said. "They have to put the stuff somewhere."

Stamper said the idea was only for the stuff to be there over the course of one weekend. The recycling company failed to show to pick up the items at the agreed upon time. He said at one point officials moved out a pile of tires, but people brought more tires down, apparently using the site as a landfill drop of sorts.

Stamper said the city put a "no dumping" sign up, but it didn't stop all the activity.

Dick Stephens, chairman of the city's appointed parks and recreation board, was reluctant to comment until, he said, "further investigation" could be done.

"I do not know anything about permission begin given for anybody to put their stuff there," Stephens said.

"I've seen it. It's not something that I think people coming for soccer on Saturdays should park next to. If given the opportunity, I think it (the dumping) should not be allowed," Stephens said.

Mayor Dave Brooks said lack of available time on the part of city workers contributed to the situation.

"We didn't have time to take it somewhere else. When we have the clean-up we don't have enough time to distribute the items where they need to go," the mayor said.

"When people leave us with everything, we have to put it someplace. We don't have ample room. We have to use the space we have. No one wants it in their yard," Brooks added.

The mayor said that the public works department is busy working on new water lines and keeping up with capital improvement projects.

According to Leonard Hendricks, Platte City public works director, the items were left at the park for two weeks before Recycling Connections, a company out of Kansas, come to pick up the items. Hendricks added the items only should have been at the park for two days.

"(The trash) wasn't supposed to be there but two days. This was not a normal thing," Hendricks said. "We will do it different next year."

Hendricks added that the city tries to keep the cost for the clean-up day down for citizens, that is why they have Recycling Connections remove the items. The items, Hendricks said, are removed by Recycling Connections at no cost to the city.

Hendricks said next year the city will be more prepared for the clean-up day and removal of items.