The Parkville Board of Aldermen established an Economic Development Committee (PEDC) to help court development to the city and moved a step forward in its quest to expand 45 Highway on an accelerated schedule at its meeting last week.
The Economic Development Committee was established at Mayor Kathryn Dusenbery’s direction. She said that she wants to actively pursue businesses to draw them to Parkville.
Dusenbery told The Landmark that her primary objective for the project is to lure a hotel near the interstate. Parkville already has a guest room tax, and the tax could fund a tourism department for the city. She said that she has spoken with Mayor Carol Marinovich from Kansas City, Kansas to seek her counsel on how the consolidated government was so successful in attracting businesses.
A long range possibility for the committee is to entice the Steamboat Arabia museum to relocate to Parkville. The Arabia sank near the city in 1856. Many believe that it would be a natural fit. A local restaurateur set up a lunch between city officials and principals with the museum. The Arabia’s lease will expire in the next 5-6 years at its current location in Kansas City’s city market. Another suburban market is rumored to have already approached the museum with plans to establish a foundation to raise money for the Arabia’s relocation to its city.
The mayor indicated that she will ask for a motion at the board’s next meeting to offer her nominations for the chairman and six members who will fill the committee.
While there was some discrepancy over the city’s share of the $12,400 project, the board agreed to share the cost of aerial photography with the county for the mapping of 45 Highway in an effort to get the Missouri Department of Transportation’s approval for improvements to the artery on an accelerated schedule.
Alderman Dave Rittman explained that the reengineering step may help expedite the expansion of the highway and that MODOT will like to see that the city shared in the cost of the project with the county.
Dusenbery and others on the board have aggressively pushed for the highway expansion.
Deborah Butcher updated the council on the city’s tourism partnership with the county.
Butcher said that she would like to get new photos of the city’s attractions. She said “We really do need to put together a real comprehensive photo library.”
While she realized that many people had great pictures of the city, Butcher explained that they really needed to invest in professional photography for placements in professional publications.
She indicated, however, that professional photography is very expensive. Rittman offered his services to help control costs. He said “Well, I’m not a professional; I’m a semi-professional. But, I am cheap.”
He clarified that his was the best kind of cheap as he was not looking to charge the city for his services.
Dusenbery announced that the Mayor’s Council will meet at Nick & Jake’s on March 22 at 8:30 am. She indicated that MAST was invited to discuss the numbers that the ambulance service provider previously presented to the city.
Rittman and other board members have expressed frustration over MAST’s response times within Parkville.
Dusenbery encouraged board members to attend. She reported that MAST has a new operating officer and said that she has been very impressed. She is also encouraged that he is personally looking to relocate to the Parkville area.
Dusenbery enthusiastically announced that the new community center already has more than 800 memberships with 82 percent of those being families. She said that she was thrilled with its success as these figures well exceed the center’s goals and projections.
James Leach from Troop 214 addressed the board as he attended in pursuit of his Citizenship in the Community Badge.
Following a brief update on the city’s proposed municipal smoking ban, Alderman JC “Charlie” Poole concluded the festivities by issuing a statement. He charged that an area publication had erroneously reported that he was requesting $20,000 from the city to draft his proposed nonsmoking ordinance.
Poole said that the claim was categorically false and might have emanated from an overheard private conversation with the mayor following a work session. He indicated that he jokingly said something to Dusenbery out of frustration that could have been misconstrued. He reported that no money has been spent to his knowledge on the ordinance, and he will not make any such request. He demanded an apology from the reporter and insisted that the paper print a retraction.