Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Raytown Parks Deserve Closer Attention

Raytown Parks and Recreation has been called to task by neighbors surrounding Colman Park located at 59th and Lane Street. City officials have been accused of turning a blind eye to a situation that is recurring on Sunday nights at Colman Park, home of the City's Park Department Headquarters. In a letter to inviting them to witness the goings-on at the park on Sunday night Board of Aldermen and Park Board members were told to be prepared to smell, hear, see and witness: SMELL: The unmistakable scent of marijuana being smoked by patrons of the park. The odor of small charcoal burners used by individuals in the parking lot and on the street next to their cars in violation of park rules and city ordinances. HEAR: Vulgar language, laced with racial and sexual profanity. Be prepared to hear trash talk of all sorts, threats and counter-threats. The continual playing of mind-numbing music so loud that it penetrates the walls of homes within one block of the park. SEE: As have the homeowners along Lane Street have for the last month – people urinating in public, fights, public drinking and drunkeness, public displays of sexual affection and all sorts of other anti-social behavior. WITNESS: Curfew violations that last long past the 11:00 p.m. deadline. Those unavailable witness the Sunday night crowd were invited to visit the park early on Monday morning to see park employees spend two to three hours cleaning up the debris from the previous night's events. The above mentioned incidents are common on Sunday evening at Colman Park. It is why neighbors of the park are asking for the following: 1. Privacy fences installed between homeowners on Lane Street and adjacent parking lots. 2. The curfew changed from 11:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 3. Gates installed at entrances to the park to enforce the curfew. 4. Codification of park rules prohibiting amplified music and alcoholic beverages in the park. The Park Board is expected to take up the issue at a special meeting on Monday, June 4th at park board headquarters located at 59th and Lane Streets at 7:00 p.m.


Andy Whiteman said...

I have a few questions:
1) Why aren't the police patrolling this park as well as others? It appears that they could easily make several arrests especially for illegal substances! I know of areas that have "drunk in public" laws. What about here?
2) What about the noise ordinance that was recently passed? Whay isn't the PD enforcing this. I would think citizens would be calling in complaints. If my neighbor makes noise, the PD sure gets a call from me!
3) The curfew needs to be inforced.

This issue sounds like a situation that could easily escalate into violence! Action needs to be taken before there is a violent crime or murder there.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I drove through the park at 59th and Lane last night. I pity the people living beside the park. Loud music, obnoxious behavior, both seem to be the order of the evening. The police drive through but once they are gone the party starts right back up.

One of my friends on the p.d. told me it was getting pretty rough. I'm going back through next Sunday night to see what is like for myself.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for full time officers on duty at the parks, at least on Friday-Saturday evenings, and unexpected times to keep the law breakers from patterning the on site POLICE ENFORCEMENT.

Thanks for creating the Blog Alderman Greg!

Proud Raytown Citizen, Scared Raytown Citizen

Anonymous said...

I too believe the police should step up to this challenge. Can the new mayor make it happen? I don't know. With the old mayor's cronies (not you Greg!)still there it's hard to see anything new & positive happening around Raytown.

Here's a question for you. How long was the HyperMart/Wallmart open over on 87th St? Did they have TIFs? I heard that they were closing. Hmmm wonder when that will happen to us?

Unhappy Raytown home owner

Andy Whiteman said...

Maybe I am dumb, but why don't the residents near the park, call Police and DEMAND enforcement? Call Chief Lynch if you have to. If weed can be smelled, as stated, that is probable cause for a search followed by an arrest if someone is found to be in possession.

By the way, I suggest caution if anyone wants to inspect the park at night. It obviously is unsafe. From what I am reading here, I wonder if the Police are afraid to go there?

I don't know when the Walmart near Bannister opened or if TIF was involved but is closed down when the Walmart on I-70 opened because they were too close together. This makes me wonder why Walmart wants to build one on 350 HWY? These too will be closer and they are actually competing against each other if you think about it. I have never hard of Sooper Walmarts so close together! I expect the low prices at first to drive out Ace Hardware, Smith Bros., the small locally owned pharmacies, and our grocery stores. The prices will come up after this happens. I think one of the Walmarts will close due to lack of customer base, but which one? Which city will be stuck with the TIF? I have a stock broker friend who won't offer TIF's to his clients because they are revenue bonds with no guarantee.

Andy Whiteman

DyedintheWoolDem said...

The WalMart at Bannister did not close because it was too close to the one the old Blue Ridge Mall. It closed for 2 reasons:
1) customer demographics changed...when the Mall died out, there was no "draw" to the area, and shoppers took their business elsewhere, and
2) it closed because WalMart focus shifted from HyperMart-style stores to SuperCenter-type stores.

As far as the stores so close together...you are looking at 2 different demographic patterns. The 40 Hiway location pulls from western Independence and NE KCMO...ours will pull from LS, Raytown and SKC (there is no WalMart between Raytown and Grandview's Sam's Club now).

As far as hurting the smaller Raytown shops...if you want low prices then shop at WalMart. If you want customer service, personal assistance, knowledgable shopkeepers...then keep shopping at Smith Bros, etc. I will.

As far as the TIF used for the Blue Ridge site, there was none, look it up.

Andy..if you're going to spout off, at least make sure of the facts...something that you fairly regularly ignore, make up or delete.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how people will dance around reality when it is uncomfortable for them. Dyeinthewooldem, got a question for you!

What caused Bannister Mall to "die out" (love that term!)

Could it be the same reason that a lot of people will not go to the new Walmart at the old Blue Ridge Mall? Check out the stories, or, better yet, if you are tough enough, visit the place at 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Happy shopping Walmart customers!

Andy Whiteman said...

Hey DyedintheWoolDem,

Isn't it coincidental that the Bannister Walmart closed when the I-70 WMT opened? It was stated on one of the TV news casts or the Star that they were too close together. I will agree that the demographics also changed. I noticed fewer cars in the parking lot but really long check out lines. I don't know whose facts are correct. I think these are really opinions and both of us are entitled to ours.

I agree with you about shopping the local merchants for their service. I will continue to trade at Westlake and not WMT (stock symbol for Walmart). I saw a small high quality lumber/hardware store in Albuquerque driven out by Home Depot. You and I can make our choice of where to spend our money, but where to you think the average person is going to shop? If most people go to WMT, our local merchants will fold. I really hope I am wrong about this!
Andy Whiteman

DyedintheWoolDem said...

anonymous...as Groucho used to say, you said the magic word: "stories"

Bannister Mall was afflicted by "stories" of rampant crime and unsafe conditions. Studies done in the metro area showed that during its heyday, Bannister was NO WORSE than any other mall in the KC area as far as crime. What was worse was the perception, probably somewhat inspired by bigotry and racial prejudice, that it was. And friend, I know from first-hand experience...I was a regular at Annie's Santa Fe for years, and I worked sales positions at JC Penney's, Sears and Jones Store for many years. No dancing around realities there, my friend.

Bannister died out because of Independence Center and its surrounding area, Lee's Summit and the trend in retail shopping going away from malls back to the "open air" attractions like the Plaza and Zona Rosa...it's economic reality, period. Don't be surprised if KCMO doesn't do something like that in the Bannister area as they revitalize it with the Wizards and the combo of retail/office in the future...plans are on the table as we speak.

You also used one of the terms I love..."a lot of people" won't go to the new WalMart at Blue Ridge. How many is "a lot"? Do you have figures? What is your data based on? Is that you talking with a few friends and neighbors who won't go there? Don't know what you see, but their lot has "a lot" of cars in it everytime I drive by it. And continue to drive by I will...I do not shop at WalMart, period.

Andy...just because the Star or the TV reports that the 2 stores were too close together doesn't mean that that is the causal factor in the Bannister store closing! Opinion as news is false story-telling (look at FOX News).

Why Westlake's? I will continue to trade at Smith Brothers. Westlake's has no ties to the Raytown area other than the CHAIN has a store here. Profits go to a corporate HQ that is not locally owned and operated. If I can't find it, order it or buy it at Glidewell's place...THEN I'll try Westlake's. I gaurantee you, WalMart is less of a threat to Smith Bros. than Westlake's is...direct competition Andy! And I get my mower tuned up, my lawn seed and fertilizer, etc. at Raytown Seed. My jewelry and watch repair at Raytown Jewelry. My shoes fixed at Raytown Shoe Repair. My coffee at City Ground's or Benetti's. My flowers at Kamp's or Licata's.

Andy Whiteman said...


I know everything on the news isn't true but it sure formulates opinions. Is it coinicidence that one WMT closes when another opens?

You asked why Westlake and not Smith Brothers? Because I am not a day person and Smith Brothers closes too early! If they were open until 9PM, I would go there.

We assume Westlake is a chain because of the name. Is it really a chain or privately owned franchise? I am not going to waste time to research it.

I feel that spending money is like voting because it supports that merchant. If is see gas selling for less at one station, I buy it there as long as I am going by it anyway. I don't make a special trip. I support the local merchants if they are open. Yes, I say support the local merchants, but will the average person do that?

My dog walks me past Bennettis once a day. We may have passed each other and never known it!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I wanted to leave this as a post but I am unsure how to do that, so I am sending it here. Greg if you feel so inclined please move this to the most appropriate post.

Last week I received yet another edition of the fleecing of Raytown or otherwise known as the City Newsletter. To make matters even more heinous the money wasted was to remind me that the Codes Nazi’s are our friends. What a crock, Mr. Miller before you come on to my property and tell me I have to park so you can see my license plates get your house in order. The church you own should be boarded up completely and labeled as a mold hazard, the public works area has numerous violations, and the camper behind city hall does not conform to your own code. Now Mr. Miller you have 14 days to fix these or you should have to go to court.

In addition to the codes issues in the news letter the last page contained what I thought was a repeat of an article I read in the Tribune about addresses on homes. I could not believe the city would waste money to re-run a story I had already read for free. I was then however corrected by my 15 year old daughter that this story was by a different Matt… Apparently we are a town of to Matt’s who serve the public, one who is a firefighter and one who is a paramedic. My daughter knows this because Matt the Firefighter comes to her school a couple times a month and teaches portions of her health class. Call me a Missouri Democrat but this sparked my interest so I did some more checking, with a neighbor who is a firefighter and a friend who works at City Hall behind the glass to find out more about our two Matt’s. Last month almost the same article as the news letter ran in the Tribune only it was written by Matt the firefighter, and I am told he has a monthly column. The title of the article in news letter was help us to help you, which was the theme of the recent Fire Tax campaign, which Matt the firefighter was the campaign manager of. Matt the paramedic was listed in the Post as the guy responsible for placing defibulators in our community, how ever Matt the firefighter created an AED campaign a year prior. See the pattern yet, it kind of reminds me of the Lincoln/Kennedy coincidents we are told as a child. To make it even more confusing my neighbor said the Matt the firefighter is also a paramedic (and supposedly a very good one). The only last piece of information I have is a friend city hall was confident that Matt the…Non-firefighter paramedic fleeced the city as the highest paid city employee last year. That is higher than the city administrator, the police chief, and the finance director. Not bad for a Matt who simply copies the work of others. I suggest you contact the Matt who is the firefighter if you want to see what is coming in the future from the city.

Anonymous said...

Back at you diedinthewooldem.

Tell that fairy tale about changing demographics to the owners of the country club plaza. Perception IS reality, my friend. People quit going to the Bannister location because they felt unsafe.

Are you really a "dem" or one that just masquarades as one?

DyedintheWoolDem said...

anonymous...and you accused ME of dancing around reality. You didn't bother to try and address even one of my points. An article about Bannister closing in today's KC Star business section echoes what I posted the other day about the Mall's "perception".

As far as demographics go, comparing the Plaza to Bannister Mall is like comparing apples to brussel sprouts.

BYW, perception is NOT reality. Perception is based on personal biases and comfort levels. Reality is what is...not what one thinks it is.

You ask if I'm a "real" Dem or just masquerade as one. My reply is "true blue and straight-ticket" since I've been old enough to vote...the right of which I was granted in 1973. That's 34 years if you need to count. I registered for the draft on the same day I registered to vote. 'Nam was winding down and my draft number was 156...the SSS took up to number 123 that year before they shut the system down. My personal debate then was USAF, USN or Canada...and to this day I'm still not sure which one I would have chosen.

Anonymous said...

As far as demographics go, comparing the Plaza to Bannister Mall is like comparing apples to brussel sprouts.

The real question is why did one fail and one did not? Don't look past the perceived reality that one is safe and one is not. That is why it failed. The demographics, etc., is so much hogwash to cover the real issue of why people will drive miles and miles past a failed mall to go to a new one.

Buddy, you have strong opinions. But you should not be so damning of those who do not agree with you.

Andy Whiteman said...

I feel that the city newsletter is money well spent. That is the only way to pass on news to the public. My TV does NOT have a CH 7 and I am sure most people don't waste money on cable when there is free TV. I don't know how many people read the local papers, so the newsletter is the only logical, assured means of communication.

I told Mr. Miller some of this via email:
I agree the ordinances are trivial. They seem more like a home owner's association and not a city. I am surprised we are not forbidden to display the flag or told what colors to paint our homes!

The city is in violation of its own ordinances. The Olde Baptist Chruch is in violation of city ordinances as well as health code and OSHA regulations.

The city has streets and gutters in disrepair which are safety hazards.

Why is the city harrassing its citizens when it is in violation of its own codes!

One question: If lightning or a tornado strikes the Olde Baptist Church what contaminants besides asbestos will become airborn over a wide area larger than this Gestapo City? How much will personal injury lawsuits costs the taxpayers?

I was going to state the above at the last Board meeting but I know they don't listen and I have better things to do with my time.

Andy Whitemam

Pat Casady said...

OK, OK guys lets not fight.
We all know what happened to Banister Mall and the Wal-Mart there. It became a place that was dangerous, and more product was walking out the doors than through the cash registers.
It's the same at the Raytown Wal-Mart.
In a way Wal-Mart asks for it. A store policy of not prosecuting thieves that take less than thirty dollars in items invites trouble. The Banister Mall went downhill after the Wal-Mart was built. Don't you remember the parking lot towers manned with officers at the mall?
Wal-Mart does two things. Makes billions in profits and makes city governments sales tax dollars. That's why cities want them.
On the down side they seem to bring with them lower property values and run other businesses out of towns.
If you guys want to fight about something I suggest you fight the reasoning of our city and school board officials not making Wally world pay for moving the Herndon Center.
Instead the taxpayers get to. I don't care what anyone says about bonds and other things, moving the school will cost the taxpayer. Nothing in this is free, except for the developer remember the T.I.F's? No real estate taxes collected for years. Wouldn't you like that?
I guarantee you one thing......the developer will make millions of dollars, He will get the land for a few dollars a square foot and then sell it for hundreds a square foot, Wal-Mart will add to it's billions in profits and you the taxpayer will lose. You will lose with higher sales taxes and lower property values.
Ask yourselves this, who could afford to move the school buildings and furnish them with the best in equipment, state of the art equipment, you or Wal-Mart.
The price of doing this business is too high for Raytown, the scales are tilted in the wrong direction for fairness.