You might miss the sign announcing Parkville if you come in from the east on Missouri Route 9.
The worn wooden sign that says “Welcome to Parkville” is scripted in red letters, tucked next to a faded image of a building sitting by the Platte River. Thanks to a heavy rainy season, grass is partially obscuring the announcement at the bottom of the city’s sign: “Home of Park University.”
Speaking during the Aug. 18 Parkville aldermen meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Marc Sportsman remarked the signage is “not only disappointing, but kind of embarrassing, especially when you look at communities on both sides of the state line.”
Sportsman’s remarks were made before the board voted to advance a proposal to build new signage for Parkville on Missouri Route 9.
The new signs would include a variety of sidewalk, lighting and landscaping improvements and two prominent landmarks focused around the the city’s east entrance on Missouri Route 9.
The existing sign would be replaced with a 30-foot-wide monument sign where Missouri Route 9 intersects Coffee Road.
Two pillars placed just before the downtown district would announce the city to visitors as they drive over White Alloe Bridge next to the Parkville Chamber of Commerce. “Downtown” would be on one, “Parkville” chiseled on the other.
The initiative originated in April 2013, but was stalled whenbids for the project in July returned costs far exceeding what the city’s engineer estimated for the project. Agua Fina Irrigation & Landscape LLC. offered lowest of the three bids, $239,126.77, which exceeded the projected construction cost, $130,834.
Mega Industries Corp offered a construction bid of $252,649.80, and Gunter Construction Co. offered to complete the project at $239,510.30.
The project’s cost, $210,834.27, is supported by a $135,000 Missouri Department of Transportation grant, an in-kind landscaping donation of $35,000 from pipeline and petroleum management firm Magellan. The remaining $40,834.72 is supported by Parkville city funds.
The state’s funds were furnished with the agreement of continued oversight from the state and the Federal Highway Administration. A city administrator’s report recapping the initial bidding process notes the state rarely dispenses funds for projects that carry costs exceeding the engineer’s estimates by more than 20 percent. Additionally, federal and state regulations pertaining to the grant forbid Parkville from negotiating directly for the bidders to lower the costs.
On July 13, the finance committee unanimously recommended the aldermen reject all bids and meet with a design consultant to revise and reopen bids on the project.
City staff present at the Aug. 18 meeting emphasized that reopening bids would not commit the city to accepting any additional costs over what is currently budgeted.
That city’s financial commitment, about 19 percent of the project’s total, was not acceptable to Ward 2 Alderman Dave Jones, who cited concerns with that existing amount budgeted and the paid staff time the project would require moving forward. Citing protests from members of his ward, Jones cast the only “no” vote on the project.
“I would suggest we’ll be criticized for not leveraging (the small amount of) city funds” required in a project being financed primarily by others, Sportsman said.
“As a city, you have one opportunity to make that first impression,” he said before offering a motion to authorize the city staff to open the bidding process once more.
In other business, the aldermen rezoned a portion of a 29.1-acre tract of land south of the intersection of Northwest Union Chapel Road and Highway FF, which is shared by the city’s sewer treatment facility and the Parkville Vikings youth football program. The two are divided by a railroad bisecting the land. The portion used by the football program was rezoned from planned industrial to a “parkland and conservation district” in order to the football program’s organizers to build a concession stand.
The city also approved a final plat for Townhomes at National and reviewed a 2014 city audit.