working toward two community centers
says survey finds enough support for two
A great interest for community centers in Platte County
was the overwhelming response from a telephone survey
conducted by The Winfield Consulting Group, Inc. in January.
According to Steve Wegner, county commissioner for the
second district, "The survey showed a great interest
for community centers in the county."
"The survey wanted to gauge the county viability
of a community center and also have information of what
services the residents of Platte County wanted to be provided
in each community center," said Wegner. "As
far as the commissioners, that was a priority."
The survey indicated that the residents of Platte County's
first choice for a community center was Parkville-46%,
KCI area-35%, and Platte City 17%.
"The Parkville location had overwhelming numbers.
There's enough interest and population in the Parkville
area that will financially support the community center,"
The proposed Parkville location is a 6-7 acre tract of
land at the intersection of 45 and 9 Highway.
While the Platte City location numbers may not have been
as strong as the commission would have liked, Wegner stated
they are still considering the construction of a second
community center in Platte City.
"I believe we found enough support for the two proposals.
The numbers in Platte City are weak compared to Parkville,"
explained Wegner. "However, what the numbers do indicate
is that the Platte City location would have to be subsidized
for some time until the population is able to support
The commission is already looking at ways to fund the
Platte City location, until it can stand on its own.
"If the Parkville facility turns a profit, then some
of the funds would be filtered up to the facility in Platte
One thing Wegner is sure of is that he doesn't want the
actions taken by the current commission to negatively
affect Platte County or future commissions.
"I don't want to strap future commissions with a
debacle," stated Wegner. "I cannot support these
if they're not going to be financially viable to stand
on their own legs after two or three years."
The 1/2 cent parks sales tax implemented by the county
will go towards the funding of both proposed community
centers. For Wegner, realization that that tax won't always
be there to support the Platte City community center is
enough to make everyone look toward the future for planning
"When the park tax ends in eight years, I don't
want the community center to be the Shiloh Springs experience
to the community center," said Wegner, referring
to the financially-struggling golf course the county is
"The Platte City facility would be much different
from the Parkville facility and the design of the Platte
City facility would be one of design for future expansion."
Wegner stated that the county is currently looking at
$14 million in funding being available for the construction
of the two facilities, with $8 million available for Parkville
and $6 available for the Platte City location. Beyond
the money from the 1/2 cent parks sales tax, Wegner stated
there are some grants available the county will be looking
While a significant percentage separated the Parkville
and Platte City location, the services requested for each
location are pretty much shared.
"The results in the southern and northern part of
the county are close to being mirrored," said Wegner.
The main amenities for the community centers included
a wellness center, an aquatics amenity including a cold
water lap pool and a warm water pool, a youth component,
and a training/education type program available in the
In the past, discussion was formulated around the design
being similar to a center in North Kansas City. But according
to Wegner, the scope of these proposed facilities is no
longer being compared to the North Kansas City facility.
"These facilities won't be that extensive; not even
close. We don't have a gaming boat to subsidize our community
centers," said Wegner.
According to Wegner, the commission is currently in discussion
with the two proposed locations.
"We have begun talks with the Parkville people to
secure the location. Once that location is secured, we
can then begin on the design of the facility," stated
Wegner. "I'm hoping by November we'll be able to
ink some sort of agreement on the land." From that
point, Wegner felt like a 14-18 month timeline would be
accurate until construction was complete.
Discussion of a possible partnership between Platte County
and the Platte County R-3 School District is still under
discussion for the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land
in front of the Northland Career Center along Hwy. 92.
Wegner stated that ideally he would like to see the construction
of the two community centers to happen at the same time.
While the securing of the land remains under discussion,
Wegner stated the county is still looking at a partnership
with the YMCA.
"The YMCA comes in with the experience of operations
and marketing. It's a likelihood the partnership is going
to take place, but it is still in negotiations."
If the negotiations go through as expected with the YMCA,
Wegner stated he likes what that possibility will offer
to the county residents.
"We can program the north and south locations different
and yet at the same time be able to offer more to the
county residents because the Y is interconnected throughout
the country. This means members of the Parkville facility
will also be able to use the Platte City facility, because
both facilities will be a member of the YMCA."
While the county is anticipating the partnership with
the YMCA, Wegner stated he wanted to clear up a rumor
that seems to be circulating around the county.
"The rumor is that the YMCA is driving the whole
process, and that's not the case at all. They're a very
willing participant but they're not driving the process,"
stated Wegner. "The county is in charge of the destiny
of the community centers."