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Plaza road projects halted

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

All work on road improvements within the Platte Valley Plaza in Platte City has been halted after financing for the projects fell through at the last minute. Construction could be stalled until after winter, officials said Tuesday night.

The Platte City Board of Aldermen on Tuesday heard a report from Jason Metten, city administrator, and David Bushek, an attorney working with the city on the Transportation Development District (TDD), a special taxing entity in the Platte Valley Plaza.

In Metten's report, he states, “In short, the TDD has been unable to secure financing for the project and the project cannot move forward until financing is in place.”

The improvements in the Platte Valley Plaza are broken into two projects and, according to an agreement signed in March of 2008. The first project is funded by the TDD and project 2 is backed by the city.

Both projects are being funded through bonds that are paid off by a special sales tax and assessment on property in the TDD of the Platte Valley Plaza.

Project 1 is listed in the agreement as being the addition of traffic signals at Kentucky Avenue and Highway 92, addition of traffic signals at Running Horse Road and Platte Falls Road, construction of a turn lane on 92 Highway at Kentucky Avenue, and construction of a turn lane from I-29 southbound exit ramp to 92 Highway.

Project 2 is listed as adding a raised median and additional lane on Kentucky Avenue as well as traffic signal modifications, and widening of Running Horse Road for a dedicated left turn lane at Platte Falls Road with traffic signal modifications.

Metten said the financing for project 2 was what fell through. The original financing was through D.A. Davidson & Co. The projects overlap and if project 1 moved forward, it would then have to be reworked to accommodate project 2.

Andrew Homoly, project manager for the TDD, said the TDD had a 99 percent comfort level that the bonds would be approved.

“Then the world financial markets collapsed,” said Homoly. “The funding did not come through and we had to scramble to find financers.”

The developer, Bill Mann, had initially put up a small advance to get the project going because the financing was supposed to be approved. The advance allowed work to begin along 92 Highway and Running Horse Road; however the construction has now been put on hold.

Bushek told the board that the TDD had approached Jack Dillingham with Piper Jaffray to underwrite the bonds last week. Dillingham told the TDD a week ago it may take three weeks to secure the funding.

Metten said the project has a good chance of being completed this year if the weather cooperates, however MoDOT is interested in seeing the project secured for winter if not.

Homoly said the project will not move forward until the funding is approved, because of the previous funding failing.

Homoly said the TDD had actually ordered the traffic lights, but had to stop the order because the funding was not available.

The work on the roads will remain at its current state until funding is secured or the project is secured for the winter. Work would then begin again after the winter season.

In other news involving Mann, he also has submitted a voluntary annexation petition for 81.26 acres east of Platte City and would consist of 140 single family lots and 18 duplexes. Last week the petition was returned to Mann because of clerical omissions in the paperwork.

On Tuesday, the board of aldermen also received a report from Metten that Matthew Denney, codes enforcement officer, has submitted his resignation. Denney was hired in May and his last day will be Nov. 28. Denney accepted a position in the private sector in Colorado.

Metten said he has already begun advertising the position and hopes to begin interviewing candidates the second week in November. Metten said he hopes to have a new code enforcement officer hired in the third week of November.


10/15/08: County employee charged with making threats


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