A Letter to the Citizens of Parkville from Mayor Nan Johnston:
On March 23rd, the Missouri River crested at its highest level since the Great Flood of 1993. The river flooded English Landing and Platte Landing parks and the water remained in the park for several days. City crews worked around the clock to assure the safety of our residents and businesses. While we are sad the flood damaged portions of the park, we are grateful that it spared businesses in downtown Parkville. Our parks are designed for floods, and we know they will recover. We are also mindful that other areas outside of Parkville have seen much worse damage, including people losing their homes, businesses, and farms. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they recover from this devastating disaster.
Our city crews have spent the past week assessing damaged areas and have begun the cleanup effort. Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency toured the parks yesterday and are compiling a damage assessment, which will be used to make a request for federal disaster assistance. Such assistance will provide Parkville with the financial resources needed to help recover from the disaster. During the last major flooding event in 2011, the City was reimbursed for costs related to flood fighting, clean up, restoration of damaged facilities, and for new mitigation projects including the construction of the McAfee Street Bridge over White Alloe Creek.
While we are still assessing the damage and developing a plan of action, we do plan on opening portions of the park as soon as possible. We appreciate the patience of residents and ask they keep out of areas not yet cleared for their safety. Debris needs to be removed and some amenities such as benches and pavilions need to be cleaned of any river contaminants. The dog park is badly damaged and the crushed stone on the trails has been washed away. We are examining options for temporary facilities for the dog park and the re-routing portions of the trails while damaged areas are being repaired. Areas where heavy silting occurred will require the removal of truckloads of sandy deposits so that grass can be reestablished.
The City intends to commit the financial resources needed to restore the park as quickly as possible. We believe most of these costs will be reimbursed by FEMA. No funds from the recently approved parks sales tax will be used for park restoration. These funds are reserved for future improvements to the parks. We are also aware the river levels are forecast to remain elevated through the summer and will consider this when prioritizing areas for restoration.
I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from our residents and the generous offers to volunteer to help clean up the park. We will keep you posted on when this help is needed. The City’s parks are a jewel of the community and the volunteer spirit of our residents is a testament to the wonderful community we all are part of. I commit to you that the City will do its best to restore the park as soon as possible for the continued enjoyment of our residents.