arkville once again proved itself to be a little city with a big heart in the wake of Hurricane, Katrina as Mayor Kathryn Dusenbery announced that the city has adopted Ocean Springs, Mississippi as its sister city after the southern town was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
The announcement came at a Parkville Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night.
State Representative Jason Brown (D-30) asked the city to allow the rest of the county to participate in the relief effort. One truck carrying supplies is expected to leave Parkville on Friday evening. Brown is scheduled to lead another convoy on Sunday.
Donations are being accepted at Parkville City Hall. Ocean Springs emphasized the need for baby supplies in its request, including formula, food, and diapers. City officials also indicated a need for water, canned food, manual can openers, and prescription samples from doctors. Donations are being accepted at city hall.
The cities’ Rotary Clubs are coordinating efforts to bring needed supplies to victims. The Park Hill School District also adopted the Ocean Springs School District as a part of the sister city adoption.
In other business, a representative from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT), Norm Dean, updated the board on the project to widen Highway 45 to K Highway. He said that the improvements are “funded and will become a reality very soon.”
“The MODOT staff is adamant about accelerating the improvements at least on the east side,” he added. Additional monies are being sought in the department to continue the expansion to I-435.
The department hired a consultant to conduct a location study. Dean anticipated that the location and environmental impact studies will be completed in the next year.
Much of the meeting was consumed with discussions over new developments, including a new luxury apartment and town home addition to The National and construction of an retail office plaza and bank building to the west of Melody Lane.
Tensions flared during discussions of the latter development, APEX Plaza. Property owners who owned property to the east of the development urged the city to rezone their properties for commercial use. The residents balked that the city devalued their properties when they permitted the development to move forward.
Dusenbery said that the city should consider the rezoning requests. She indicated that she would like to do everything she can to protect or shield the residents. A resident in the neighborhood said that any additional commercial usage will be met with fierce opposition.
“Maybe we need to buy th[ese] propert[ies] and make a park out of [them]. I mean we screwed up and caused this problem,” Alderman Marvin Ferguson angrily interjected.
The city approved the development last year with Dusenbery casting the go ahead vote after deadlocking in a 4-4 tie after the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously denied the applicant.
Ferguson told The Landmark that an even vote indicated that the city was evenly divided. He said he believed that it was inappropriate for the mayor to break a tie in such an occurrence. He indicated that he will continue to look for a compromise to alleviate the burdens of the property owners by looking at having the city acquire the properties for park use.