Sunday, November 23, 2008

Raytown/Walmart Landfill Controversy

The company hired by Walmart to clear land for their new store on 350 Highway has been dumping the debris one mile east of the new location on Westridge Road. The dump can be viewed from Westridge Road between East and West bound Highway 350. You will not need directions to find it once you are there. The dump is made up of earth, concrete, asphalt and rock from the new Walmart location. The debris is easily whipped up by the dry fall winds common to the Midwest at this time of year. The result is a fine film of dust which settles on nearby homes, businesses and cars. The city requires that large construction projects (such as the Walmart development) submit a plan as to what they will do with debris from a construction site. So it is not a surprise to city officials that the landfill dump has been created. But what has happened has far surpassed the guidelines set out in the plan. A local businessman brought the complaint forward at the Board of Aldermen’s last meeting. Mayor Bower would not allow any public discussion of the matter at the meeting because, in his words, it was not “on the agenda”. The city has since ordered Walmart’s construction company to quit dumping at the site. That’s a good start. Now the city should go back to the construction company and fine them for the damage done to neighboring property owners. The unsightly debris should be removed. And this is the important part, not at taxpayer expense. Raytowners have already forked over enough in tax breaks and added sales taxes for Walmart to locate here. Making them pay for cleaning up Walmart’s mess would be adding insult to injury. Another Idea . . . City Engineers are currently working on plans for a new bridge on 63rd Street in Downtown Raytown. What most people do not know is that the plans are not for a conventional bridge but for a tunnel. If the Board of Aldermen accepts the design, a large earthen structure with sloping sides (sealed with stamped concrete) would be built to support he roadway. The design cost less to build, is virtually maintenance free and is expected to last much longer than a conventional bridge. Here’s the “idea” part. The structure would require tons of earth fill the area between the street and railroad tracks below. Now where can such a pile of dirt and rock be found? Time for Open Discussion . . . Mayor Bower is making a mistake by not allowing Board members and city officials to respond to individuals during the Public Comments portion of City Council meetings. The image left is one of an uncaring City Council reluctant to publicly address problems before them. Open communication is the first step to solving any problem. A change in policy allowing free-wheeling discussion at City Council meetings would send a positive message to Raytowners. It would also send an unspoken invitation to the public to become more involved in their community. Some will say that such a policy will get out of hand and create controversy where none is needed. Not true. I have sat on many Boards under many Mayors. Those who chose to allow open discussion, Bob Grissom, Doug Hall, Willard Ross and Jack Nesbitt, were able to handle the meetings from their position as Mayor acting as Chairman of the City Council. After all, it is part of the job description. There are those at City Hall who "talk the talk" that Raytown’s government is wide open to public inspection. It is a good thought. They should follow that good step and “walk the walk” by allowing open discussion between the citizens and their elected officials at City Council meetings.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Assume Greg that the landfill waste from Wally World is what you'd like to see dumped beneath the 63th street bridge. Is that a natural creek beneath the existing bridge or a railroad right of way? Why not make it a covered attractive bridge like back east instead of a tunnel? Have something of interest leading into downtown Raytown?
What is needed at city hall is a bunch of young aldermen. Andy apparently doesn't know it's NOT about money, it's about service to one's community. People between 25 and 40 should be the next class of aldermen. The old business guys and gals can offer them some advice. If $400 a month takes Andy's disability check away then he has to look out for himself as he has always done from what he has presented on this website.
Realistically the existing mayor and aldermen should be forced to serve on the board until the problems they have created are straightened out. No one with a brain would step forward to clean up their mess. Same goes for our poor president-elect who inherits the stupidity and malfeasance of the past 8 years

Anonymous said...

Hey there Greggy. Learn how to read a map dude. That would be east of the site. Stay focused...

Greg Walters said...

Thanks for pointing out that west is not east. The correction has been made.

In answer to the enquiry about the bridge -- the 63rd Street bridge passes over railroad tracks. There is not a natural stream underneath.

The 63rd Street Bridge has been designed once as a conventional bridge. Our city engineers have suggested the alternative design as a way to save money -- and eliminate maintenance costs in the future.

The roadway will be four lanes wide with bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides.

A wooden structure would not be practical -- and as one who just finished a tour of the northeast can attest too -- unusable for heavy vehicular traffic.

Since 63rd Street is one of three collector streets that cross the width of Raytown, a covered wooden bridge would become a traffic bottleneck.

As for the "mess" you describe as Raytown -- my friend, you are preaching to the choir.

You know, there are plenty of people telling each other what is wrong with Raytown.

Maybe you should put down your pen, go to city hall, and file for office. That way you can be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

According to the new county executive the railroad under the 63rd street bridge will be one of the railroads that will be used in the new county commutor rail when they get that up and running. So I don't think that mess from walmart will be moved to that location also so the railroad will need to approve that move. They don't want to help the city out in anyway so why would they approve that? By the way that commutor rail would be very good for Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Someone explain to me why this mayor is so afraid to allow people to speak and to allow the board to respond to their questions and issues. Is it because he is afraid that maybe the resident could be right or is it because Bower is afraid he may not have the answers? It seems that when ever something controversial comes up he does not want to allow discussion or he wants to hire someone to study it out. I keep hearing that he says the staff doesn't have time to do the work on items that the public or the BOA needs answers too. Is that because he doesn't know what to do or is it because he doesn't have confidence in his staff. There was never a problem with the staff before things always got done even with with walmart. That is always his excuse Walmart this Walmart that. STOP USING EXCUSES.

We keep spending money on these people to study things like fireworks, recycleing and non-smoking as will other items and the only ones benefiting from these studies are the ones doing them. Bower must think that he is working on HOK's budget here in Raytown. I have heard him say he doesn't want fireworks. Then table the discussion and forget it instead of spending money to study it.

I was a supporter of Bower I'm sorry to say but from what I have seen it won't happen again. I am beginning to believe that we should ask for a recall. When I heard that he has said that the people of Raytown are complainers that made my decision as to whether I would ever vote for him again.

Mayor Bower if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen or we will help you out!!! I know how you like those cute little says.
I never liked those because it sounded so unprofessional.

Mark Siettmann said...

Greg, I don't know how you write a blog this weekend without mentioning the fantastic run of the Raytown South Cardinals to the state championship game. Congratulations to the team, and best of luck in the title game!

Andy Whiteman said...

Do Aldermen receive only
$400/month? Long ago I heard $12,000/year. What ever it is I appreciate their community service.

In fairness to the public, I would not throw my hat into the ring because I will not be here long enough to serve a full term. Would you vote for someone knowing that they will only be around a year or 2? I wouldn 't.

Pat, please read the last post on the p;revious chain. Someone asked you a question.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, if they are the right person and not too many people know they would not be around for a year or two...yes I would vote form them. Incremental change for the good is better than sitting on the tracks waiting to get run over.

I agree with Greg & the 1st poster, it is about time a lot of us became a lot more active in the community...I would not put an age limit on it though. In my opinion, it comes down to if you really care enough. Sad fact is most do not care enough unless it directly impacts them...that is called selfishness...which doesn't surprise me since we live in the age of ME or I...instead of WE or US.
As I see it.....

Tom Rigot, sr said...

I may have my facts wrong and if so I'm sure someone reading this blog will correct me. I thought a replacement bridge for 63rd street was already settled on and after a lenghty discussion period between the rail road owners and local utilities an agreement was reached. I believe I read this in the local paper a few times. I may have been late spring I read this. Now according to Greg, the bridge design is still being discussed. The bidding process can't even start until the rail road okays the design so replacing the bridge is in reality a long way off. Meanwhile, the road surface at that location is dangerously rough and nobody can see what lane they are in because there are no markings left. As a long time Raytown area resident, I remember reading about 15 diferent plans for the old wooden bridge on raytown road and at least 15 years passing before anything was decided on or done. Is this the same story line for the 63rd st bridge? Are we going to see progress this year, the next or 5+ years down the road? I made a commitment to keep my business and my family in the Raytown area many years ago after the promise of downtown redevelopement, 350 corridor improvements and other potentials. I now find myself second guessing my decision. Even with all the enthusiasm the new group " Downtown Main Street" seems to have I wonder if it's time to cut losses & bolt to a new community!

Tom Rigot, Sr

Anonymous said...

Andy,

As a past alderman I can tell you that the alderman never ever earned $12,000 a year. We were paid $400.00 per month and $50.00 per month for gas that amounts to $5400.00 a year. We paid taxes on that as well. Some alderman chose to pay for their own health insurance out of that which was a big chunk and left next to nothing for those alderman. No one can say they do it for the money.

S.H.

Greg Walters said...

Tom,

Regarding the 63rd Street bridge. City Administrator brought forward a suggestion that instead of building a conventional bridge that the city have an alternative design created using the concept of a tunnel covered by fill (dirt, rock, etc.), with the roadway built on top of the fill.

This alternative design may save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars -- plus -- it is nearly maintenance free.

The surface would be covered with stamped concrete. The rail-line would still be usable -- that's what the tunnel is for.

You are correct about the conventional bridge already being designed. The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to look at a second design with an eye on saving tax dollars in construction.

Greg Walters said...

Mark,

Thanks for reminding us about the Raytown South achivement in football.

While I am at it -- how about a "shout-out" for the O'Hara Celtics Girls Volleyball team. They won the state championship (again!!!) this year.

I think that makes three in a row for them.

Greg Walters said...

Finally, some interesting news I picked up on today about the planned demolition of the First Baptist Church in Downtown Raytown.

It seems the local businessowners around the church parking lot are up in arms because the demolition of the church includes the demolition of the entire lot -- including the "parking lot".

What is amazing about this is that the charge against the demolition is being pushed by none other than former Mayor Sue Frank!

Seems she did not read the fine print on the application when the grant money was applied for with state and federal officials.

After all, it is not their property -- it is the public's property.

It has taken over five years to get where we are today in demolishing the city's major eyesore. To leave part of it intact makes no sense.

If we ever want the Downtown to move forward -- the city MUST continue with the plan or possibly face the loss of the state and federal grants paying for the project.

What amazes me about the whole mess is that the city went into this eyes wide open. It was made very clear from the beginning that the application for grants was for the entire First Baptist property -- not just the builiding.

Anonymous said...

Poor Ole Sue Frank. She still acting like the "spoiled little brat", throwing a fit if she doesn't get her way. She only gets concerned when something involves her property. Let's face it she has a worthless old building in a poor location that nobody would buy. To salvage a parking lot to benefit the "elite few" is wrong. It all must go.

Pat Casady said...

OK here's the deal on the demolition of the old church.
I was at the meeting as was many property owners on the block.
The demolition contractor told Sue Frank that he was going to close
off our entry access off Raytown Rd. With a fence that would go from
Raytown Rd. to Blue Ridge. That would stop all deliveries for the Four M
Company, The Bickering Tree lounge, the school district storage building,
any deliveries to my business and would almost stop all of WalNic's
business and limit parking to 63rd.St. for employee parking for the jewelry
store and the Frank insurance company.
We weren't asking for the demolition to be delayed we are asking to
stay in business. Just move the fence fifty foot to he north.

Before people like Anonymous 7:37 start saying how bad we are just think
if for some reason a contractor decided to put a fence in front of your
house so you couldn't get into your own driveway. To say our property
is worthless is just an asinine statement. This is the kind of mentality
I have been fighting against for the last ten years.

True the property is "now" on city property. But few realize that all the businesses
along that area had an agreement with the church. That agreement was that
everyone shared both parking lots. In fact when the stairs were installed
the church paid for them so their people could use our parking areas on Sundays and some evenings. Likewise we could use the church's parking lot during the day.
Many of us may not have agreed with Sue Frank on things that have happened in the past but, I guarantee you we are all united in this.

Also my anonymous friend, I bet you didn't know that the city doesn't even have a
signed contract with the demolition company.
He has not given the city a schedule for tearing down the church.

Anonymous said...

Hello Pat,

I agree with you that fence should be moved back It is only common sense; however, we all know the leaders of Raytown have none of that.


I also think Sue Frank deserves to have her business and livelyhood threaten, because she is the one who got us in most of these problems. Personally, I think she and the rest of BOA that made the stupid decision to buy the church should be helded FINANCIALLY Responsible for this mess.

If the Mayor and BOA were held to financially responsible when they make stupid decisions - like the rest of us - then maybe they would not lose all of the business and common sense when they are make decisions on BEHALF of the citizens of Raytown.

I know you like Bower, but he needs to get his ego and power trip under control, because he seems to have forgot HE WORKS FOR THE CITIZENS OF RAYTOWN, not Walmart or consults doing studies etc.

Has anyone looked into the fact, that maybe why Bower always wants a Study or Survey from some very High Price consult is that maybe HE IS GETTING KICKBACKS from this folks.

Andy Whiteman said...

SH, I think I know what the initials stand for. I have always felt that the Aldermen were really donating their time even if they were paid the figure I previously stated and I appreciate it. My attorney specified a limit on what I could earn and then added any consistant amount could disqualify me.

I just think it wouldn't be fair to the citizens to run for office since I will be spending 95% of my productive time packing which leaves little time for anything else. (Remember my productive time is about 4 hours per evening.)
************
I say blow the church to Kingdom Come but I don't understand the fence issue. True it is needed for safety, but it seems to me that it should stop at the property line which should leave the alley to the businesses open. Since the alley is access, that should be challanged. Also the isue has come up that the alley also serves as EMERGENCY ACCESS! If the alley is closed, it is a fire code violation because there is no egress or rear access or even for the Fire Department. Will these businesses be shut down and will the owners be paid for their loss?

It may have been customary to use the church as public parking. If this is the true arguement, technically it is trespassing. There is pleanty of street parking all over the area!

The fence needs to stop at the propoperty line of the church!

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Anonymous 10:39.
I was OK with most of what you said. I went through the threat of
losing everything business wise and I can tell you it isn't much fun.
I don't wish that mental hardship on anyone.
I really don't believe Mayor Bower has, would or ever will be involved
with anything like a kickback. That went over the line.
My problem with this cities elected officials is that everything they
do is so secretive. Then when they do make a decision it's usually
bad for the people and businesses of Raytown. If just once when they
were making a decision, they would just ask the questions, what will
this do to the city, is it good for the people and how much will it
cost?
This would however make them think for themselves for once in their
official lives and that won't happen. I am truly surprised they haven't
hired a professional to do their studies and surveys.
Oh wait, the people of Raytown already have, they are the City Administrator,
The Financial Director and the City attorney and let's not forget
our elected officials.

Anonymous said...

IMPEACH, IMPEACH, IMPEACH, IMPEACH, IMPEACH should now be the MOTTO for all of Raytown Citizens.

Someone should just take a pen to Bower, with his over inflated Ego and his better then all of Raytown Citizens attitude, as well as, all of the BOA, with all of their hot air, and pop them - No impeachment or recall would be necessary - they would all just vanish.

Or better yet, Put them all in front of a firing sqaud.

The person who stated Bower and the BOA maybe GETTING KICKBACKS from this folks could be correct.

Someone needs to check into it, because Bower gets $1000 per month and BOA gets $400. It is a nice idea that they are doing it for their community, but come on guys let us not lose our common sense.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Pat, but I do think Bower and the BOA maybe taking Kickbacks, because no one would make these BAD decisions for the Community that the serve, be so secretive about the decisions, be so afraid to hear for the public if their pockets were not getting lined with something, unless they are just complete idiots.

Children could make better
decisions then these folks.

As for a Frank and her group, they also probably received kick backs. If not why would she been so stupid to buy the Old Baptist Church in the first place.

Before you say I am off base, Has anyone looked in the freezers or bank accounts, etc of these folks?

I am telling you Frank, Bower and the BOA really cannot be making these STUPID decisions on their own, someone has got to be paying them to give our town away. If they are just doing it themselves, then GOD help Raytown.

Anonymous said...

If the church is going to cost Sue Frank business, I say she is getting what she deserves. But, I do feel sorry for the other businesspeople that are suffering for the silly mistakes that she and her cronies on the BOA made while she was in power.

Tom Rigot, Sr said...

I posted a comment in this thread yesterday about the poorly maintained bridge at 63rd St. I just drove over it today and see that the double yellow dividing line has been repainted. Was this just a timing coincidence or is someone from public works reading this blog? Thanks Greg for responding to my comments yesterday about the bridge replacement. I'm all for saving my fellow taxpayers and I some money but am also anxious to see the job done. It will be a major commute headache for me and my employees and will affect my business as well as all downtown business owners. In short, I like to see a problem identified, a solution reached and a timetable set and followed to completion. Some people call that progress. I thought our city planners were on a schedule with construction ready to start around April of this year and now I find that a design has not even been finalized. I pray this does not take several years. On the other hand, I guess all good things do take time!

Anonymous said...

Pat
You wanted more business people to run for the board. Sue Frank should be the perfect one to run again to ruin this city completely. What she has done and what she is trying to do - STINCT REALLY BAD. Everything is becoming obvious why in the first place city purchased this property. Wake up call....

Anonymous said...

HUH??? WHAT DOES 'STINCT REALLY BAD' MEAN ? WHAT IS STINCT ? DO YOU MEAN STINK ? ARE PEOPLE DRUNK WHEN THEY GET ON THIS BLOG BECAUSE THEY SURE AS HELL CAN'T SPELL WORTH A DARN.

Pat Casady said...

Just because people make extremely bad decisions does not
mean they are taking kickbacks.
I hate to find myself defending these people! I am so disappointed
with them for what they have done to this town.
I don't think they take kickbacks. I don't think they are idiots either.
I think they have been talked into bad decisions by past city administrators,
developers and lawyers.
However we need to look hard at ourselves. The people of Raytown
keep electing these people to run the town. It's like telling them they are
doing a good job.
Any city government that has to spend taxpayer money to hire outside
people to tell them what to do (studies and surveys) or how to do their
duties is admitting they have no clue how to do their jobs.
They rewrite or ignore rules to suit their needs. Enforce codes on some
but not others. If you are a big business they bend over backwards for
you and the skies the limit to what you can get away with, while the citizens
are bent over in another direction.
When a citizen tries to ask why something is or was done they are limited
to five minutes and then usually put down or put off.
If you question the city you are a trouble maker. Heaven help you if you
decide to stand up and fight for your rights. Even on this post people
take cheap "anonymous" shots at you when you use your right to your
opinions.
I'd like to say I give up! But I really think that's what they want. They want
all of us to just to go away and let them destroy this great little town.
I'm, not quite ready to give up yet.......Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:59 AM,
Probably not drunk, they are probably graduates of a Public School.

My your up early or was it late to bed?

Tim Truesdale said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all! This Holiday season, if anyone is interested in leaving a note of appreciation for our community, please take 5 minutes to leave a comment at:

http://thanksgiving4raytown.wordpress.com/about/

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue".--The Bible

Anonymous said...

In the request for bids to demolish the Baptist Church, I noticed it included trees. Surely those old full-grown lovely trees aren't going to be taken out too! If a contract hasn't been signed by
the demolisher, who knows for sure what is to be taken out? Keep Raytown Green!
Night Owl

Andy Whiteman said...

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Red Dogg and I are thankfull because we found a house after 6 years and can escape from the State of Misery.

In about a year there will be another vacant house in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I am thankful that maybe just maybe everyone will be happy and that there may be a sense of closure, and everyone will come together, and the healing will begin between all peoples no matter their political affiliations or race.

Andy Whiteman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 10:23 AM, Yes I too would like to see everyone work together regardless of political affiliation or race. Raytown and the world would be a much better place!

Andy Whiteman

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