or years, many residents of the Weston area may have looked at the pristine, rolling hills of the property just south of Highway P and wondered what it would be like to own the land there.
Now, thanks to Platte County Parks and Recreation, they do.
Brian Nowotny, Platte County Parks and Recreation director, announced the county’s planned acquisition of a 97-acre plat of farmland at last week’s administrative session of the Platte County Commission. The land, currently owned by the Alexander family, will be purchased at the appraised rate of $3,500 per acre. The deal is expected to close in January.
“It’s a great piece of property,” said Nowotny.
“We’ve been working on the deal for about a month and a half now. It’s been a joint effort between the county and the school district.”
Nowotny credited County Commissioner Steve Wegner for taking the lead in negotiations for the park. Wegner said the deal occurred as a result of a few casual conversations.
“Dudley and Virgie (Alexander) are good friends of mine and I was aware they had this particular piece of property in the family,” Wegner explained. “After Earl Benner decided he wasn’t interested in selling any of his property to the county, he donated three acres to the district. At that time, I approached the Alexanders.”
Dudley and Virgie Alexander, both current residents of Platte County, said they were happy to sell their land for the project.
“We think its a good deal for the county, we feel it was an excellent deal for the school district, and we thought it was an appropriate thing for us to do,” Dudley Alexander told The Landmark. “It’ll be a very good location and a very good site for a school.”
According to Alexander, the sale of the property to the county wasn’t a hard deal to strike.
“When Steve (Wegner) approached us, I said ‘we’ll work with you,’ and when the appraisal price came in, that was the price we agreed to sell for.”
Alexander said the sale didn’t come with any special requests from him or his family.
“I didn’t think that was appropriate,” Alexander said. “We made no stipulations.”
Nowotny said the county’s criteria incorporated the following facets: location, size, price, and suitability for future use.
“This is the first purchase we’ve made after reviewing about six different properties,” Nowotny explained. “It was in our price range, met our criteria and fit the school district’s needs.”
Nowotny said the two properties would complement each other very well.
“Part of the property is ready for immediate use, while the rest will be put in a land bank for future development.”
The park, it is anticipated, will contain assorted ball fields, walking trails and even a possible outdoor amphitheater. Part of the future development plans call for 20-acres of the property to be set aside for a school building.
“When they’re ready to build a new school in the district, they can buy the 20-acres from the county parks department for the original price of $3,500 an acre,” Wegner said.
“The nice thing about that is they’re not ready to build a new school by any means. They looked into the future and secured 20-acres in anticipation of their growth.”
In much the same way, Wegner said future developments for the park would also be up to the district’s residents.
“Once we (the county) get the acquisitions done, it’s up to the residents — either through their city aldermen, their school district or parks association — to develop a park master plan,” Wegner said. “They’ll drive the development — not the commission or county parks and rec — they’ll drive the development, not the commission.”
Wegner said that with nearly $650,000 left in the West Platte School District’s park sales tax coffers, citizens of the area have plenty of opportunities to grow the park.
“They have some hard development money leftover to make a significant impact. They’ll have a pretty nice amenity when it’s all said and done.”