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      5/27/2004    

 

 

 

 

 

Who's the boss?

It's tough to tell when it comes to pocket park

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

No matter with whom you speak – the board of aldermen, the park board or area businessmen— the man who is given most of the credit for the pocket park project at the end of Main Street in Platte City has been Olin Miller.

Miller, owner of Olin Miller Insurance on Main Street, wrote the grant proposal for the project and conceptualized most of the plans for building the park. Miller said that if he is associated with any group in regards to the park, it is the PCADA.

He told The Landmark that he and Dick Stephens, Platte City Parks Board president, have met regarding the park and that the two have gotten along well. He acknowledged that there is a bit of confusion over who is taking the lead on the project and that several unspecified members of the community have “been getting real antsy” over the park project.

Miller said he was not privy to the letter that was written by the mayor and sent to the park board and had generated controversy (see related story). When read the letter, Miller opined that he didn’t see where the hard feelings were coming from but if the writer of the letter wanted something specific it was “poorly written.”

Miller, who also serves as the sexton for the Platte City Cemetery, said that those working on the park project know what work they need to be done, and that time is running out: the grant the park received from the county must be used by Sept. 1.

In the meantime, Miller commended Billy and Jody Knighton for their work in the park. Miller also indicated that vandals in the park have slowed progress by throwing supplies into the river. Platte City police have stepped up patrols at the park in response to the complaint.

Specifically, Miller said he wants to use the grant money to buy supplies and volunteer labor to pour a four-foot wide by two-foot deep footing for what would eventually become a support pillar for the proposed platform in the park. Miller said he is concerned by the activity of the Platte River and the effect it is having on erosion of the pier at the park. In addition, he can’t help but wonder how far the $11,000 grant can go.

“(The park) is going to cost quite a bit more,” Miller pointed out. “The price of steel has doubled since we began the project.”

Miller said that after meeting with Stephens, he agreed to start getting estimates for the work to be professionally done. Miller also said he offered to step aside if Stephens felt that was for the best – a move that nobody involved with the project seems to think is wise.

Stephens said he wasn’t asking Miller to do that; he just wanted someone to look at the project and tell his board that it would work.

Stephens said he felt the grant money should be used to do as much work as possible, then the parks board would look at using its own funds to complete the rest of the project.

“If you say ‘I think this is going to work,’ that’s not good enough,” Stephens said. “If it’s not a concept I can support, I will not authorize $5,000 to pay for it. I would rather pay a little more, and be assured its going to be done, then to pay a little less and maybe not getting the structure that you’d want. This is very important. These footings are very important. Then we’ll budget the remainder to get it done.”

   
 

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