by Alan McArthur
One of the signature attractions for Platte Landing Park has taken the first step toward ground breaking.
The Parkville Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a project agreement with the United States Corps of Engineers to construct a wetlands project in the heart of the Platte Landing Park near downtown Parkville.
Platte Landing's property was originally purchased by Platte County to the west of English Landing Park. Parkville is responsible for the maintenance and improvements to the property.
According to Tim Blakeslee, assistant to the city administrator, the agreement is being made with Parkville because the county recently decided they were not interested in moving forward with the wetlands project. In order to complete the project, the land will need to be transferred to the city from the county at a cost of $1.Platte County and the City of Parkville are currently working on a deal under which the entire Platte Landing park ground would be signed over to the city for $1.
While the city already maintains the park, the deal will give the city full control and all financial responsibility for Platte Landing Park.
Blakeslee said the proposed wetlands would cover about 100 acres. The wetlands project is expected to be fully funded through federal funds and not require any local funds.
Parkville will be responsible for maintenance of the wetlands after the first three years. The expected yearly cost of maintenance after the three-year period is between $5,000 and $10,000. Parkville is currently spending about $5,000 annually for mowing in the area.
There is already a small natural wetlands area in the park.
Alysen Abel, public works director, said the corner wetlands area of Platte Landing Park has been maintained by city crews following the federal standards.
Brian T. Whitley, alderman, asked about the measures the city could take to control mosquitoes from the wetlands.
Abel said the city currently sprays in the park every Friday to control mosquitoes, but an established wetland should attract birds to eat the mosquitoes.
A wetlands project will create an area with about four to six inches of water at the deepest and will require a pump from Rush Creek to help the wetlands become established.
Wetlands areas can become home to many lowland plants as well as frogs, fish, and small mammals. The areas draw migratory birds and can even attract eagles and hawks.
An estimated 45,000 cubic yards of material will be excavated for the wetlands and the material will be piled north of the wetlands. Officials hope to use the material to construct elevated soccer fields.
Since the time Platte Landing Park opened a few years ago, improvements have included a trail, dog parks, boat ramp, and parking lots. Parkville is planning to construct soccer and baseball fields in the park.