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R-3, county partnership
apparently is a dead issue

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

It's over.

The long-discussed possible partnership on a community center between the Platte County Commission and the Platte County R-3 School District is dead, and Platte County is now getting rolling with an alternative plan to build a community center along Running Horse Road in Platte City near the Oak Creek subdivision.

Officials on both sides were still reluctant to go into much detail about why the school/county partnership didn't work. County Commissioner Steve Wegner and R-3 Superintendent Dr. Mark Harpst both said the two entities are expected to issue a joint press release addressing the topic later this week.

An arbitrary deadline of Sept. 30 to reach an agreement had been set.

Sources have indicated there were a couple of concerns from the county's end, one being the operational costs for the type of swimming pool the school wanted in the center.

Another major point of contention is that the school wanted the county to commit approximately another $4 million to the partnership several years down the road to build a multi-purpose addition to the center that would include a 2,000 seat fieldhouse. The school would have matched that $4 million for an $8 million addition.

Sources said county commissioners weren't prepared to make that "back end" financial commitment of the county's park sales tax money.

"It's a pretty complicated issue," Harpst said Tuesday night, saying he would prefer to wait to comment until the joint press release is issued.
"It's not looking real positive," he added.

The county has plans to build a center on the roughly five acre site on Running Horse Road. The center will have a pool that will have annual operational costs of about $40,000 less than the pool that would have gone in a school/county partnership pool.

It's expected the county will design the center in a way that expansion can be done if the center proves to bring in profits above expectations.

The proposed joint center would have been constructed near the school's main campus along Hwy. 92 in Platte City. The county had offered around $6 million toward the joint project, with that money coming from the half cent sales tax for parks.

Early in negotiations, the school had indicated it wanted an eight-lane swimming pool, a fitness center, an indoor walking/running track, a regulation size practice gym and six outdoor tennis courts as part of the joint center.