by Alan McArthur
One of the higher-profile contested races in Platte County next week is the mayoral race in Parkville.
Current alderman and former interim mayor Gerry Richardson is running against Parkville business owner and developer Tom Hutsler.
In recent interviews conducted by The Landmark, each candidate stated his position and why he feels he is qualified to be mayor.
"I have the time to commit to the community," said Richardson. Nearly three years ago Richardson sold his business interests and is currently an alderman for Parkville.
"I have been in a variety of city positions," said Richardson. "I have the background and the time for the job. I'd like to return to the position."
Hutsler said he thinks the way many meetings in Parkville are run needs to change.
"I believe we need a change in the way Parkville is run," said Hutsler. "I have the communication skills necessary and want to provide an open and fair government to Parkville. You have to have respect for all citizens and integrity."
"The definition of a public servant is you have to serve the public," said Hutsler. "I have been a huge volunteer since 1993 and have served on several boards."
Richardson said he believes Parkville is moving the correct direction and should stay on the path it is on.
"I've listened to a lot of people recently and the clear consensus is people like what Parkville is now," said Richardson. "I don't intend to move off the path we're on. It is a charming community with great police and I want to preserve the best of what we have."
According to Hutsler, regulating future growth is important to preserve green space in Parkville.
"I'd like to take the hard work done in historic Parkville and continue that elsewhere in Parkville," said Hutsler. "In Parkville it is imperative to work closely with residents and the community to enhance future development. I believe green space is imperative."
"New home construction will happen in Parkville," said Hutsler. "We can continue to grow in quality way. I have experience as a business owner and I believe in Parkville so much I have an investment here."
One of the main goals for Richardson is to increase the green space and park land in the city of Parkville.
"I am pro development and pro growth at a pace and in a way that we don't lose any charm or sense of community to bring people here," said Richardson. "I want to reexamine the development ordinances to increase the green space set aside. I'd like to increase the park system by either adding land in the outlying locations or in English Landing Park."
Richardson said he wants to continue looking at the issue of eliminating the train noise in downtown Parkville.
"I want to look at the train crossings and may modify them to eliminate the train horns," said Richardson. "Just now the federal regulations have caught up to what we'd like to do to convert the existing area to a quiet zone. The laws are in place to modify all four crossings to not have the train horns blasting in Parkville."
The most important issues for Hutsler are the upcoming road and bridge improvements along the state highways through Parkville.
"The major issues facing Parkville is the expansion of 45 Highway, the replacement of the 9 Highway bridge in downtown, the railroad expansion, and the development in newly annexed areas along 435," said Hutsler.
"I will work closely with MoDOT to ensure we have the least impact on commercial and residents from the widening," said Hutsler. "We need to protect the historical district and neighborhoods."
Another issue for Parkville is "maintaining the police department through the budget they need to fulfill the promise to protect and serve."
Richardson said he already has experience because of his serving as interim mayor during part of 2004.
"I have experience serving as mayor and to this day people ask me to serve," said Richardson. "I get along with just about everybody. It's a kind of leadership through consensus in Parkville. I have the experience, time and attitude to do this job."
Hutsler said his main focus is to ensure Parkville's meetings are conducted according to Missouri laws.
"I will conduct all meetings in accordance with the Missouri Sunshine Laws," said Hutsler. "I want to treat everyone with respect."
Current mayor Kathy Dusenbery decided not to seek reelection in order to run solely for the first district commissioner seat in Platte County.
The Parkville election will be held on Tuesday, April 8.