A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Parkville City Hall was held Saturday morning at Lewis & Clark Streets in the Parkville Commons development.
Over 50 citizens attended to celebrate the beginning of construction for the long-awaited city hall which Parkville’s city leaders have been planning.
The city has outgrown its current facility located next to Park University’s baseball diamond on Highway 9. The proposed option to repair and add onto its current building was scrapped when the estimates were higher than $3.28 million. By choosing to build a completely new facility, there will be additional space for the city to operate and it will not cost citizens anything extra in taxes. Their current building has 14,000 square feet, while the new facility will have a significant amount of more space at an estimated 23,000 square feet.
Parkville Mayor Kathy Dusenbery described this gathering as an historic event when she welcomed citizens and thanked them for being a part of Parkville’s history and its future. “Parkville stands for progress, preservation and pride,” said Dusenbery. “Everyone who has come today to share a speech with us has a thread of that pride woven through their words.”
The opening Pledge of Allegiance was led by Girl Scout Troop No. 3979 who carried in the American and Missouri flags while Eric Young completed the welcome by performing a drum roll. Paul Gault wore his Park University baseball cap as he represented the Parkville Presbyterian Church. He shared how far the city has come and its advancement since the past council meetings held in the 1850s.
“Our city hall used to be located on First Street across from the Park Bank,” said Gault. “I came here in 1956, and this city has never stopped growing in the last 50 years. We now find ourselves breaking ground on a new facility located on higher ground which will be safer from flooding.”
The city’s administrator, Joe Turner, introduced the current board of alderman and pointed out many of Parkville’s past mayors in the audience. This was another opportunity to include the city’s past leaders in this new achievement, which they contributed to through previous service and leadership.
Architects Homer Williams and John Freshnock of the firm Williams, Spurgeon, Kuhl, and Freshnock spoke of how the planning process for this facility has evolved.
“It’s been an interesting project and quite a journey,” said Freshnock. “We have partnered with sub-contractors which allowed us to work quicker and stay on budget. It’s all positive.
The designer put together this innovative building by using constructive dialogue with the design team, and it was designed in record time. This structure is an excellent example of civic architecture. The city was able to incorporate their needs, and also the needs of their citizens.”
The spokesman for River North developers, Tony Borchers, described how exciting it has been to see the completion of city hall’s design and chosen location.
“It’s exciting to be here, to be breaking ground, and moving forward,” said Borchers. “We want Parkville Commons to be a neighborhood center for this city where money can be spent in town, and then ultimately re-invested here. The city hall will sit across the street from the beautiful (Platte County) Community Center and we continue to look forward to this areas development. We will be here again in under a year’s time for an even bigger and exciting ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate its opening.”
A vice president of Park University, Dorla Watkins, reiterated the university’s involvement with the city of Parkville.
“Our university has had a 131 year relationship with this community,” said Watkins. “And in turn, this city has been blessed with the opportunities the university can provide. We look forward to Parkville’s continued growth.”
A blessing was spoken over the project by the Rev. Rayfield C. Hunt of the Washington Chapel C.M.E. Church. The ceremony concluded with a startling cannon blast by historian Carolyn Elwess.
Dusenbery, the city aldermen and local leaders broke the ground by using golden shovels. A special mosaic tile shovel was crafted and on display which will permanently reside in the mayor’s office.