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Parkville City Hall, age 10, has already become crowded

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

Limited space at Parkville City Hall has officials considering their future needs immediately.
Despite a new city hall being built in 1993, an unexpected population growth has created a great demand of services by the city of Parkville.

According to the city’s capital improvement plan, Parkville’s land mass has tripled since 1994.

In a March 7, 2004 article in the Kansas City Star, former city administrator Pat Hawver stated, ‘our city has more than tripled in size, population and number of employees since city hall was built in 1993.’

City Clerk Barbara Lance confirmed Hawver's statement on Monday. According to Lance, the former city hall (located at the train depot downtown) housed 10 employees, the new facility now houses 42 staff members.

“Now, we’re just running out of office space. What was planned to be locker rooms for the police officers, has had to be converted from storage space to the community development office,” said Lance.

The staff numbers have quadrupled, the City of Parkville has also grown an average of 16.7% in assessed valuation from 2000-2004, and since the 2001 annexation of land to the west, the city’s size has doubled to over 20 square miles.

“We were a smaller city, we just didn’t have such a great need,” stated Lance. “At the time of the original design, the west wasn’t annexed yet.”

Community Development Department head Sean Ackerson said with the annexation of the west, the whole city has needed to adjust.

“One thing for city hall is you want it to be accessible and easy to get to. With the annexation of the west, the heart of the city has shifted,” said Ackerson.

Ackerson’s department, which has been crammed into the aforementioned storage room, currently houses five employees. Lance said that area is only meant to house at the most three employees.

With the unexpected boom of the city, the City of Parkville asked the voters to consider an increase to the operating property tax levy for the purpose of providing funds for community improvements in the April 2004 election.

The increase, which was approved by voters, included the expansion of the 7,558 square foot City Hall as a community improvement.

The proposal that went before the voters last April asked that they allow for the restructuring of the existing operating tax levy.

According to the restructuring, once the existing general obligation bonds are retired, and the debt levy is eliminated, the allowable increase to the operating levy will provide continued support for the city’s proposed projects. The net effect to the taxpayers of the operating levy would be no greater than $0.0971 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Lance stated the voters approved less then $1 million in bonds to build the city hall.

“Why we’re having to do it again is because we basically didn’t have the money to build for the future,” said Lance.

For Ackerson, the situation has come to a point where basic needs have to be resolved.

“The space we have now is inadequate to the purpose,” said Ackerson. “Right now, we need to think about what the best move is and how to proceed.”
In order to do that, the city had to hire Williams, Spurgeon, Kuhl & Freshnock Architects, Inc. of North Kansas City to formulate a study of the city’s short and long term space needs.

The city hall study, broken down into four tasks, will come up with a final work product of a preliminary design for either a renovated facility or a new facility.

The first task, data collection, involves the collection of data concerning the existing Parkville City Hall and police department facilities including uses, number and types of spaces, physical facility conditions, equipment performance history and similar information.

Task 2, data review, involved the critical assessment of the space provisions of the current city hall and to project the short-term and long-term needs for the city hall and police department needs. The responsibility of the task is to anticipate the future needs and the relevant functional needs.

The beginning of task three, which has just gotten underway, will result in a preliminary design for either the renovation/expansion of the existing City Hall or a new City Hall. The architects have stated their intent to conduct three public meetings in their scope of services to assist with the final recommendation.

As a part of the proposed design, the architects have identified that the facility would need to see its square footage increase to 15,852 square feet to meet long-term needs.

Design of the Charrette, Task 4, is the conduction of a one-day design intensive workshop to work with city stakeholders to brainstorm the needs and wants for the city hall project.

Ackerson stated there has not been any sort of timeline established by the Parkville Board of Alderman to date regarding the project.



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