Job growth came to Platte County in 2015 Details of recent economic activity listedby Valerie Verkamp Landmark assistant editor
Economic development in Platte County is healthy and strong, according to officials from the Platte County Economic Development Council.
In its annual report, the EDC reports eight industries made a commitment to invest more than $82.8 million and create 1,115 new jobs in Platte County in 2015.
The Platte County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) has been at the forefront of a number of deals bringing new quality development and expansion projects in Platte County, the report indicates.
One of those new industries, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, will provide health care services to veterans and military families across the Midwest. TriWest’s $4.3 million expansion near the Kansas City International Airport will bring 500 new jobs to Kansas City.
In Missouri, the military community is 9.3 percent of the total population, according to the Missouri Veterans Commission. To honor military men and women, the Tri-West plans to recruit veterans to fill new positions and actively participate in a program called Show-Me Heroes, which facilitates job connections for military members returning home.
In 2015, Platte County also welcomed U.S. Farathane, Lifeflight Eagle, Datapipe and American Shorthorn Assn.
In addition to these new tenants, Alicia Stephens, executive director of the PCEDC, said multiple other companies vowed to expand or continue their business operations in Platte County, including Multivac, Smithfield and Orange EV.
“Economic development is my passion,” said Stephens. “Making a difference in the community’s economic health, to me, means someone has a job, can afford a place to live and can put food on the table. The Platte County EDC participates in and leads many activities but in the end it’s all about results. We win some and lose some but…Platte County is winning.”
A number of economic indicators also show signs of a steady economy. As of Nov. 2015, the unemployment rate in Platte County was 3.3. That’s a 1.8 drop from 2014.
It also appears wages are on the rise. The annual average salary from 2012 to 2014 increased by $2,601. The most recent report reflecting data from June of 2015 shows the annual average salary in Platte County was $43,992.
Consumer spending has slightly increased. In 2015, Platte County sales tax/use tax revenue was up by slightly more than one percent over 2014.
Last year in Parkville, consumer spending was also ahead of 2014. General sales tax collections were up 1.5 percent from 2014. The general sales tax collections were up by $134,000 since 2012. That’s almost 17% in 4 years.
In Platte City, revenue from the city’s one percent general sales tax increased by 1.6 percent compared to the previous year. In fiscal year 2015 the city’s general sales tax brought in $981,019 compared to $965,408 the previous year, said DJ Gehrt, city administrator.
UPCOMING PROJECTS From as far north as Platte City to as far south as Riverside there is local evidence of economic growth, and the potential for more, across the county.
In Riverside, The Horizons business park is beginning its next phase of development. Several prospects have already conveyed an interest in the speculative buildings being constructed in the Horizons and the KCI Intermodal. Main Event Entertainment, a bowling-anchored entertainment center, will be opening a location in Platte County, behind the AMC Barrywoods Theatre off of Barry Road.
The economic forecast is also strengthening in Platte City, where sewers are being installed on the east side of Interstate 29. Officials say the sewer project will open up hundreds of acres for potential development.
The city of Parkville will be welcoming a new QuikTrip to the southeast corner of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 45.
Parkville has also recently adopted a study that proposes improving a major transportation route through the community. The Hwy. 9 Corridor Study will “enhance pedestrian and vehicular transportation movement while accommodating future development,” said Lauren Palmer, Parkville city administrator.
The initial designs include 12 project segments along Hwy. 9 from Hwy. 45 to Mattox Road in Riverside. Currently, city officials are formulating a plan to implement the study.
City officials say Parkville is in a good position to acquire new development.
“We partner closely with the Parkville Economic Development Council on outreach to the development community. Although I’m not able to make any announcements at this time, there has been tremendous interest from businesses and developers, especially recently (within the last 60-90 days). I’m optimistic that 2016 will be an exciting year for economic development in Parkville,” said Palmer,
But a development project east of the Kansas City International Airport may serve as the biggest indicator of the county’s growth potential. The Twin Creeks KC project covers a 15,000-acre area. The area is bordered by I-29 on the west, I-435 on the north, Hwy. 169 on the east and Hwy. 152 on the south.
The use plan proposes to develop 70 percent of the land as residential, twenty percent for commercial or industrial and dedicates at least eight percent as park land.
“With everything that is going on currently and Twin Creeks KC getting ready to develop, Platte County is the place for growth over the next few decades. Twin Creeks KC will not develop overnight–it will take 2-3 decades,” said Stephens.
While the city of Kansas City continues to invest in sanitary sewers for Twin Creeks, the development of Menards near Green Hills Road is well underway. The Menards opening is expected to happen later this year.
Another project on the horizon is to replace the Old Tiffany Springs Road Bridge over Interstate 29. Motorists hoping to dodge traffic on Barry Road will be disappointed to learn the project doesn’t call for the construction of an on and off ramp from Interstate 29. The bridge project is expected to go to bid later this year with construction beginning in 2017.
Two sizeable apartment complexes are also being developed in Platte County. Spanos, a national multi-family developer, is currently constructing an apartment complex just west of Burlington Creek. Another apartment complex is on track in Parkville, adjacent to The National.