An extension of a deadline to meet maintenance standards at Platte Ridge Park would come with a price for the City of Platte City and its parks and recreation department.
On Thursday the Platte County Commission offered to extend the deadline for the city to remedy all maintenance defaults at the county-owned, city-operated park by June 20. But the offer comes with several stipulations spelled out in an “addendum to operations and management agreement” between the county, the city and the Platte City Park Board.
“It’s a three-way agreement,” said Betty Knight, presiding county commissioner.
“We do not intend to negotiate,” Knight said, emphasizing the offer to the city was a take it or leave it deal.
But at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Platte City Board of Aldermen, the city’s reaction to the addendum was somewhat cool. Mayor Dave Brooks said the city attorney has some concerns about several issues of the addendum to the original contract. Brooks said he has asked the county for a chance to meet to discuss the situation, and the county has indicated to him they would be willing to meet.
Brooks indicated that he would be joined by city administrator Keith Moody and city attorney Keith Hicklin in meeting with county officials.
“I’m not quite sure what he is talking about,” said Dana Babcock, director of administration for the county, told The Landmark Wednesday morning. She said she is not aware of the mayor requesting any meeting with the county commission and her staff has not heard from the mayor.
Brian Nowotny, Platte County park director, said earlier this week Brooks had called him, asking if the mayor could drop by to visit with him. Nowotny responded affirmatively.
“He never did,” Nowotny said.
Nowotny added that late Tuesday afternoon he was left a voice mail by Moody, asking if “we could get together and talk about this.”
Nowotny was getting ready to return the phone call to Moody as The Landmark went to press on Wednesday.
It is believed one of Platte City’s points of hesitation is that city officials believe the agreement should be just between the county and the city park board, with the city’s board of aldermen being left out of signing the agreement.
Nowotny indicated if that’s the case, “I’m not sure we have anything to talk about,” saying the county’s view is that the city should be willing to sign to also be held accountable in the agreement with the county and the city park board.
Brooks said the city is paying for some grading work currently being done at the park.
“It probably should have been done to start with (by the county prior to the city taking over maintenance and operation of the park),” Brooks said.
Platte City’s Park Board will also need to sign if the addendum is accepted. The park board is scheduled to meet Monday night. Brooks and Moody indicated they would like to meet with the county before that park board meeting is held.
Park maintenance has been an issue for more than a year. In late December, the county sent a letter to the city explaining it considered the city in default of the agreement because of lack of maintenance. A 90 day deadline for corrections was given. That deadline was reached last week.
Brian Nowotny indicated some positive signs had been seen, but that much remains to be done by the city to get them into compliance with the original agreement.
Thursday, the county indicated it is giving the city and the park board two weeks to make a decision on whether they will accept the county’s offer.
Important additions to the agreement dealing with the 214 ace park located north of Platte City on Hwy. 371 include the county now demanding to approve several aspects that weren’t in the original agreement.
The city would now be required to seek county approval on maintenance and capital improvement plans. The city must also get the okay from the county on the park maintenance budget and capital improvement budget.
The county now demands that the city shall bid and contract all capital improvement projects at the park. The city will be required to observe and enforce Missouri prevailing wage laws in regard to all construction projects conducted at the park.
Platte County would also demand an annual safety audit with a risk management expert be done at the park with the city park board and county officials present for the audit. Also, the city must have county-approved programming plans with an emphasis on volunteer support and partnerships to run the sports programs held at the park.