county detail failed center negotiations
As first reported in The Landmark Newspaper last week,
Platte County R-3 School officials and the Platte County
Commission have mutually agreed to end negotiations on
a community center partnership.
This week the county and school district released a joint
press release discussing the situation. The text of that
release is as follows:
The Platte County R-3 School District and the Platte
County Commission could not reach a partnership agreement
for a community center located on R-3 property and have
mutually agreed to end negotiation.
After more than six months of ongoing discussions, it
became clear to both parties that a decision that was
acceptable to each would not be reached.
The county could not agree to the terms of the school
district's final proposal. The offer required the county
to make a long-term financial commitment to match funds
to build an additional 2,000 seat recreational complex
in four to 10 years.
"Both the county and the school district have the
community's best interests at heart, but, at this time,
the county cannot agree to a long-term financial commitment
for this additional complex," Platte County Presiding
Commissioner Betty Knight said.
"The county commission will work diligently to bring
Platte City a community center that is impressive and
cost-effective to county taxpayers."
Making an effort
To gauge public opinion for the area's recreational needs,
the county, with representation from the school district,
began performing in-depth studies and analysis in 2001.
This information gathering effort involved market research,
citizen surveys and the formation of a citizen steering
committee to guide the process. The results showed that
residents preferred a family leisure pool, with features
such as zero-depth entry, water slides and a water playground.
The school district's most recent proposal offered six
acres of property, which R-3 valued at more than $1 million,
for a community center to be constructed. The school district
also agreed to pay $25,000 annually for 20 years to help
construct and operate an eight-lane, warm-water pool as
part of the project.
The school district agreed to support an eight-lane,
warm-water pool concept to accommodate the survey results
of the county and budget constraints, even though a cold-water
pool is preferable for competitive swimming.
In addition to this compromise, the school district offered
nearby availability of classrooms and gym space to accommodate
multifaceted programming and future needs of the community
To justify the value of the property and annual commitment
to the project, the district requested a future commitment
from the county to construct the "Northern Platte
County Recreational Complex."
The proposed facility would support the ongoing and increasing
need for several youth athletic programs, including basketball,
wrestling, indoor soccer, and volleyball.
This facility would have been built through matching
funds of $4 million from the R-3 Schools and $4 million
for Platte County. The school district offered to operate
the facility or allow the county to operate it.
The county's decision
Upon final review, the commission felt that the school
district's proposal to build the additional complex was
not financially feasible for the county. The difference
in what the county could reasonably pay$1.5 millionand
the total amount needed for such a project was too substantial.
The county reviewed the offer extensively and determined
that it would be more expensive to build the community
center in partnership with the school district than if
the county moved forward alone.
"I am disappointed that our school district could
not come to an agreement with the Platte County Commission,
but will respect their decision and support their efforts
to develop a quality facility in the Platte City area,"
R-3 Superintendent Dr. Mark Harpst said.
"We feel our offer of a prime location, significant
cash and other partnerships with our existing facilities
could have enhanced this project and brought to our community
and surrounding area a first class facility that could
improve the quality of life for people throughout all
of Platte County. We live in the second fastest growing
county and second wealthiest county in Missouri, and I
truly believe now is the time for our school district,
the county and other entities to create a larger vision
for addressing the expectations of those constituents
for many years to come."
County officials will continue to look for different sites
in Platte City to build the community center.
"Negotiations between the school district and the
county commission have not been wasted time," 2nd
District Commissioner Steve Wagner said.
"Both parties have learned a great deal about the
needs for the area. There may be the potential to revisit
this partnership in the future to address other needs
that have arisen during our discussions, possibly through
future additions to the facility."