elcome back to Between the Lines. The ink is black. The page is white. Together we learn to read and write.
Platte County Commissioners sure missed a chance to do something wise when they failed to name David Park as one of the members of their self-called “blue ribbon” 11-member committee to study the county’s sales tax structure.Park, a Democrat, as you’ll recall challenged Ron Schieber in the presiding commissioner race in 2018 and gave the incumbent a run for his money. Park pulled more votes in Platte County than any Democrat has in the past decade, falling to Schieber by a margin of 53-47%.
In 2020, Park will be running for second district commissioner, a seat currently held by John Elliott.
Anyway, Park has been critical of the county commission’s stated intention to cut back on funding for capital improvement projects in the county parks department. In other words, Park is in favor of continuing to expand parks and recreation facilities parks capital improvements. This is probably why he didn’t get asked to serve on the committee, even though there is no citizen in the county who has more closely followed every move of county-related activity the past couple of years. Park has developed a pretty vast working knowledge of what’s going on inside the walls of the county facility.
In addition to that, it’s often politically beneficial to appoint an “adversary” to these types of committees. Sometimes it opens doors–and minds–to a lot of things, including potentially softening some criticism and creating an opening for productive dialog on both sides. Extending an olive branch is not a bad thing. Even if nothing substantial or positive comes from it, such a move is interpreted as an open minded and classy thing to do.
I recently asked Park if the county commissioners ever reached out to him about potentially serving on the advisory committee. His response: “No, they didn’t. I was not surprised though. I would not have supported the recommendation they are seeking.”
The “recommendation they are seeking,” of course, is in reference to the commissioners stated desire to cut the park sales tax rate, which currently sits at a half cent.
A missed opportunity. Current county commissioners just haven’t shown a lot of interest in hearing viewpoints that are not already aligned with their own. It really shouldn’t be painful to give air time to opposing viewpoints. But apparently it is.
The discussion over school start times at Park Hill is fascinating stuff. I don’t have personal skin in the game but I will chime in with this observation: 7:15 a.m. is too early to be starting school for any age.
Just my two cents.
A 7:15 a.m. start time makes me appreciate the small town school I attended. For all my school years there the school day ran roughly 8:15 to 3:15, give or take five minutes on either side.
Thinking back to the school days of former Landmark facilities manager Kurt Foley, who by the way is recently married, living in Manhattan, Kan. and working on a master’s degree in environmental policy. I don’t want to say Kurt was reluctant to wake up on school days but it would have taken nothing short of a terrorist attack to get him out of the sack in time for a 7:15 a.m. start time.
And frankly there’s no guarantee that would have worked, either.
Pistachios are the bomb. I just finished another bag while writing this column. Those things are like crack.
I mean, I’ve never smoked crack. But I would imagine it’s as addictive as eating pistachios.
Interestingly enough, there are plans in the works for the former Kmart shopping center in Platte Woods.
The Kansas City Star reported last week that the former Kmart shopping center has new owners who have plans to redevelop the site. A local investment group recently purchased the 104,490 square foot center on NW Prairie View Road west of I-29 at 72nd St. The investment group had long owned the land the building sits on but recently purchased the center from Sears Holding Corp. as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.
A representative from the owner told the Star that the plan is “to renovate all those shops, make it nice and pretty and up to date.” The plan is to fill the center with “high profile, mixed use type users including entertainment, retail, restaurant and hotel,” the Star reported.
I’m not necessarily doubting the plan, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting on that one. We’ve all heard some aggressive development plans that never came to fruition. Remember when the west side of the I-29 and Hwy. HH exit in Platte City was going to become the “next Zona Rosa” as described by some (at least one) local elected official at the time about 15 years ago or so? That never quite came to be. Those plans quickly withered.
Anyway, Kmart had occupied about 84,180 sq. ft. of the space at Platte Woods. Several smaller tenants still operate on the north end, including Tasty Thai and Big Bowl Pho.
(Get a Big Bowl of Between the Lines right here each week. Follow Foley on Twitter @ivanfoley, find him on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)