by David Tanner The Examiner
Story last updated at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Part Four in a Series
This is the last planned story in a series on the proposed development in the Little Blue Valley by Arcadia Land Company. This story is about the impact on city services and schools.
The proposed Arcadia Land Company project in eastern Independence will have an impact on schools, public utilities and police and fire protection, but service providers plan to take the development in stride.
"We try to learn each time a large area is developed," said Blue Springs School District Superintendent Paul Kinder, whose district will inherit future population increases in the developing Little Blue River Valley. "We anticipate a fairly large amount of growth."
Independence City Council could approve Arcadia's Crenshaw and Village One developments this month, setting in motion up to 900 new dwelling units in the next eight years, south of Truman Road and generally east of Crenshaw Road.
If approved, the development could attract up to 2,200 people, studies show.
Kinder said his district uses a formula of one student per new household to anticipate when a new school might be needed.
"The first new building we anticipate is an elementary school," Kinder said. Next, he said, the school district could focus on a new high school.
"Growth is a mixed bag," he said, "We want to grow because it gives the district vitality, but we grew a lot during the '80s. Now it's catch-up time."
Kinder said the district has been successful with raising school funds without heavy reliance on major tax-levy increases.
"We are very fortunate with the last 10 to 12 years of bond issues," he said.
The school district rarely tries to shape development, Kinder said, unless it's of a commercial nature where tax increment financing may affect the tax base. Arcadia has not applied for tax increment financing because Crenshaw and Village One are intended for homes only.
Public utilities for the proposed villages, such as water, sewer and electricity, would come from Independence.
"It's orderly," said George Morrow, director of Independence Power and Light, "We will have no trouble serving the area. Remember, everything was new at one time."
Power and Light, Morrow said, could easily run power to the areas and has plans for up to four new substations as Independence grows.
The Water Department is adding capacity to the Courtney Bend Water Treatment Plant to plan for expansions, including the Little Blue Valley.
Department Director Dan Montgomery said the plant has a capacity of 42 million gallons per day. The plant expansion will add another 6 million.
"We will be able to meet future plans," Montgomery said.
Police and fire protection also is an issue.
"There's been talk of a police, fire and community center substation out in that direction," said police spokesman Bill Pross. "Other than that, I don't think it will have much of an effect on us."
Pross said police officers respond to the area now as needed and would continue to do so as development occurs.
"Hopefully that will mean more officers some day," he said.
Fire protection will continue to come from Fire Station No. 10 at 3300 R.D. Mize Road, just north of Pink Hill Road.
Shift Captain Timothy Johns said the station generally runs with the minimum of staffing. Out of the city's 10 stations, Station No. 10 handles the second fewest calls. For that reason, Johns said, the staff gets moved around to other stations that have people off sick.
Sometimes, Johns said, the station runs with two people, and about three days per month, the station is closed altogether, and the area relies on two other stations a few extra minutes away.
Johns said the station will be in a gray area for a few years, caught between a relatively low number of calls and the development that is sure to happen.
"They have talked before about closing this station," Johns said, "We've got more houses going up around us, and we've got the hotel and stuff over on Little Blue Parkway as our first run."
Johns said Station No. 10 is also a first responder to Sunny Pointe Elementary School.
"The whole theory of having a fire department with stations spread out around the city is for quick response time," Johns said, "I presume with all this construction out here our runs are going to go up."
Johns said another school in the proposed Arcadia plans would justify keeping Station No. 10 at full staff
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