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Plattsburg


Pitt

The City of Plattsburg is the county seat of Clinton County and was incorporated in 1833, making it one the oldest communities in northwestern Missouri.  Until the 1970s Plattsburg was largely a stand-alone community, serving as the economic center for the region’s agricultural enterprises.  One reason for this success was the city’s central business district, which contributed to Plattsburg’s prominence as a regional economic and governmental hub.  

Until the 1970s, the downtown maintained a healthy mix of active governmental, professional and retail uses.  This included the Clinton County Courthouse, Plattsburg City Hall, a variety of retail stores and professional offices, as well as a movie theatre and skating rink.  Additionally, the downtown area included two automobile dealerships, two farm equipment dealers, one bank and three gas stations/repair shops.

Like many small rural communities, from the early 1970s through the mid to late 1990s, the downtown area suffered significant downturns.  By 1995, over half the buildings downtown were empty and, in some cases, abandoned and falling down.  During this time, the downtown lost virtually all retail, manufacturing, sales and auto/equipment dealers.  Activity in the downtown was largely limited to governmental and a few remaining retail and professional businesses.

platt2Beginning in the early to mid 1990s the City, the community, local business owners and Mo-Kan Regional Council worked to revive the downtown.  In the mid 1990s the City started a “from the ground up” infrastructure improvement program beginning with buried utilities such as water lines, gas lines, sanitary sewers and storm drains.  At the same time, a new generation of business owners saw the opportunity to create a unique specialty shopping destination with a relatively low cost of initial building purchase prices.  This effort included the formation of several community based non-profit groups that helped restore several downtown buildings.  The most successful community collaboration was able to raise $750,000 to restore the Community Courtyard Building, which is a large community-owned building used for public functions.  These renovation efforts have created the downtown as it currently exists.  Furthermore, these endeavors have laid the foundation for the most recent revitalization activities in the downtown business district.

These major improvements in the downtown over the past 10 years have been the result of a $2.8 million dollar public and private investment in the past six years.  Consequently, the area has slowly undergone a renaissance that reduced the vacancy rate from over 50 percent in the early 1990s to a current rate of approximately 9.6 percent.  The remaining five vacant buildings have some form of renovation planned or completed.

Despite the many improvements, the City’s downtown struggled with aesthetics and functionality issues.  Primarily, streets and sidewalks were in disrepair, utility lines draped across intersections, sidewalks were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and there was a noticeable lack of green space.   

In 2005, the City approached Mo-Kan Regional Council to assist them with a major project to continue improving public infrastructure in the downtown area.  The $1.5 million project included over $1 million of private funds, $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and $75,000 from the City of Plattsburg.  The project entailed upgrading the streets and sidewalk, adding period street lighting and park benches, rebuilding and upgrading underground utilities (water mains, gas lines and sanitary sewers), and completing surface ADA accessibility.  Additionally, a pocket park was constructed to memorialize “President for a Day” David Rice Atchison, who called Plattsburg home.  

The downtown was officially “re-opened” in 2006 with a renovated appearance, that not only retained its historic “daytime shopping destination” and unique small town shopping experience, but also presented an attractive and clean, traditional downtown appearance.  

Recently, the City has used Mo-Kan’s services to continue improving their community.  In 2009, Mo-Kan completed a long-term Citywide Comprehensive Plan for the community.  And in 2010, Mo-Kan helped the City secure a $350,000 CDBG to improve Birch Avenue, a historically significant street in the community.  Furthermore, Mo-Kan’s revolving loan fund has helped a number of Plattsburg businesses get started.

Atchison


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The City of Atchison, Kansas is a picturesque community located along the bluffs of the Missouri River. Named after David Rice Atchison, the city was incorporated in 1858 and quickly became a thriving hub for commerce as a steamboat landing for wagon trains headed west. As wagon traffic was replaced by the rail industry, city leaders worked to continue Atchison's role in the regional economy. Their solution was to use $150,000 from local investors and create the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) Railroad. Initially, the rail connected Atchison to Topeka, but would later expand westward to Colorado. Eventually, the name of the company would be shortened to the Santa Fe Railroad and become iconic in the United States.

The development of the ATSF spurred Atchison as a destination for other rail companies, including the Burlington & Missouri River, Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and the Missouri Pacific Railroads.

As the rail industry blossomed, retail, commercial, and industry followed close behind. From 1870 to 1900, Atchison grew to a vital regional economic focal point. Banking, lumber, grain and manufacturing all played a significant role in the community as the city became one of Kansas' most influential municipalities.

Another significant addition to Atchison was the St. Benedict's Abbey in 1858 and Mount St. Scholastica in 1863. The Benedictine Brothers and Sisters were very influential in the region with the formation of two institutes of higher learning, St. Benedict's College in 1858 and Mount St. Scholastica College in 1923. In 1971, the schools merged to create Benedictine College, a four-year co-educational institute. Currently, the school has an enrollment of nearly 2,000 students and is recognized as one of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report.

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Atchison has always been a progressive community with regards to development. This is evidenced not only by its history, but its current efforts to grow the regional economy. In 1996 (and later in 2001), AnaCon Foods (http://anaconfoods.com), located in Atchison, was considering expanding. An exclusive producer of a patented line of unique snacks and food ingredients wanted to remain close to their source of grain, but lacked the necessary capital to grow. City leaders encouraged AnaCon to work with Mo-Kan Regional Council on a revolving loan fund to finance the planned project. In turn, the company expanded twice and created or retained over 40 employees.

Beginning in 2003, the city started a citywide comprehensive planning process. From this effort, a Comprehensive Plan for the Atchison Area was crafted. The plan led to many proposed improvements, including enhancement to the city's historic downtown pedestrian mall. In 2005, Mo-Kan successfully applied for a Transportation Enhancement Act (TEA-21) grant on behalf of the city. The $1.7 million project refurbished the pedestrian mall, helping to maintain a vibrant business district and create a focal point for the community. The project involved renovating the walking surface of the mall, installing new electrical service and lighting, removing concrete canopies, and adding a new fountain.

From 2006 to 2009, Mo-Kan continued to assist the City in its efforts to grow and improve. Grant applications submitted included an Economic Development Administration Public Works grant for vital wastewater system improvements, a Housing and Urban Development- HOME grant for supportive service, and a Kansas Department of Transportation economic development grant.

In the fall of 2007, Mo-Kan assisted the City of Atchison in preparing a TEA-21 application to place aesthetic lighting on the new Amelia Earhart Bridge. Once the bridge is completed, the proposed lighting will upgrade existing lights to LED lighting, which will give the city of Atchison more color and design options when lighting the bridge. In addition, the lighting scheme will also replace the current light space cannons at the entrances to the bridge. While not directly funded, the application was the basis for a special allocation from KDOT.

atchison_county_1In 2008, the agency successfully completed a $55,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC) for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements to Memorial Hall.

Memorial Hall was constructed in 1922 as a memorial to the men and women who served during World War I. The project included renovating the women's restroom and replacing an existing water fountain. The building is owned and operated by Atchison County and was placed on the National Register in April 2007.

On May 9, 2009, Mo-Kan successfully assisted the Atchison County Commission with $32,134 grant from the State Historical Preservation Office's Heritage Trust Fund grant program. This grant was used to restore 14 stained glass windows that were originally installed in 1897 to the historic courthouse.

Later that year, Mo-Kan completed a $100,000 grant application to the Kansas Historical Society on behalf of the city and the Atchison Chamber of Commerce to make necessary repairs to the Atchison Santa Fe Freight Depot. Home to not only the Chamber, but also the Atchison County Historical Society Museum and the Atchison Rail Museum, the historic 1880 structure required significant maintenance. Funds from the grant were used to repair the brick and mortar on the southwest corner of the structure and re-point as needed on the exterior.

In 2010, in an effort to make the Atchison County Courthouse ADA compliant, Mo-Kan completed a successful $164,800 CDBG application on behalf of the county commission to replace an existing non-ADA elevator. The total project cost is $329,600 elevator replacement project.