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State-of-the-art car wash, lighted trails on the way

by Bill O'Malley
Contributing writer

Parkville residents may soon enjoy lighted trail ways in English Landing Park courtesy of the Riegelman Run Trail Fund after the city’s board of alderman appreciatively accepted the donation and permitted the group to proceed with the lighting project at its meeting on Tuesday night.

Noting that the organization possesses the resources to finance the first two phases of the project, Ken Parrish announced that the group scrapped its plans to delay the second phase and sought board approval to move forward with the first two phases of the project.

Phases 1 & 2 will include 25 lights along more than 3,000 feet of the trail at an estimated cost of $40,000.

The lighting project is expected to be completed within five phases. Parrish was confident that his organization could expect future revenues to afford its completion.

Parrish confirmed Mayor Kathryn Dusenbery’s dismay that 2005 may be the last year for the Riegelman Run on the trail. The annual event has become a staple in the community. But, Parrish suggested that the group may realize greater benefits from investing a significant portion of its existing assets.

The board also approved a new full service car wash and detail center proposed for Parkville Commons. After its construction, it may be the most technologically advanced car wash facility in the metropolitan area.

The proposal previously met with vocal opposition as angry residents rose before the council in parade fashion last month to announce their resistance before the proposed developer was even afforded the opportunity to make his presentation.

The developer’s thoroughness, however, must have eased the tensions of the project’s antagonists as little opposition was voiced at this meeting. Community Development Director Sean Ackerson actually consumed more time in defending the project than the developer and pro and con speakers combined as he entered anticipatory defense mode.

Pine Crest resident Vicki Raine was the only person to address the board in opposition to the project. The focus of her apprehension relied on noise, traffic, and flooding concerns and were more thoughtfully articulated than her predecessors from a few weeks ago.

The developers went to great lengths to accommodate the residents' concerns, including several structural measures to address the noise and traffic concerns. The city said it already addressed the flooding worries.

Council and gallery members were greeted to a familiar presence as Kansas City Chiefs announcer Bill Grigsby addressed the council in support of the project. He, however, alluded to his true intentions when he conceded that he simply cannot pass up the opportunity to entertain in the presence of a microphone or video camera.

He chided that he was happy that the last month’s spectacle was not broadcast in Iraq because the Iraqi people would be left in a sea of incredulity as to the true nature of a democracy.

The affable personality spoke of his great love for Parkville as he threaded his comments with tales and anecdotes from his 3+ decades in the city.

Grigsby said “I love this place. You couldn’t get me out of here.”

His charisma and engagement left one of his successors at the podium to complain in jest that Grigsby had stolen his thunder.

Dusenbery announced that Public Works Director Jeff Rupp was unable to attend as he was in Jefferson City in an attempt to garner support to widen 45 Highway to four lanes to Route K. She said that she believed that the plan could become a reality by 2010.

Police Chief Bill Hudson was not present for the meeting which jokingly created speculation of his well-being after he was scheduled to plunge into Longview Lake polar bear style last Saturday morning for a fundraiser to benefit the Missouri Special Olympics.

His representative presented the department’s year end report that noted little change between the 2003 and 2004 crime rates. Crime appeared to be dropping compared to 2003 but leveled off after the city experienced a slight up tick in the December crime rates.

After twice postponing its approval, the board approved an ordinance to merge the Tree Board, Parks Committee, and Events Committee into one entity.



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