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Civic Park condemnation proceeds to jury trial

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Civic Park plans are progressing. The park's first phase, 35 acres along Trafficway in center city, will be cleared beginning in February.

The five businesses located in the 35-acre space have already begun relocation procedures in order to make room for the park. The city has made offers to purchase three of the facilities, and is still pursuing an agreement on price on two of the properties: the Greyhound Bus terminal and Thompson Pontiac GMC Cadillac.

The Thompson case is set to go to a jury trial Nov. 15, said Lynn Thompson, company president. Thompson said he had "no idea" whether the parties would come to an agreement before then.

"I guess everybody wishes this could have been resolved more quickly, but this is the most appropriate way to get it finally resolved," Thompson said.

The trial comes after condemnation proceedings, during which a three-person commission evaluated the situation, failed to result in a resolution on price, Thompson said.

Benjamin Alexander, project coordinator for Civic Park and senior planner with the city, said the city is continuing to negotiate with the owners of the Greyhound Bus Terminal and working to solve the Thompson issue before it goes to jury trial.

Thompson is on track to move to a new location, which will consolidate its St. Louis Street and Campbell Avenue locations, between February and June of 2000, Thompson said. The building should start going up in the next three weeks at 1555 Independence, where street and ground work is already taking place. The new Thompson location will combine its new and used car sales, service center and parts departments in a 72,000-square-foot building, Thompson said.

Greyhound Bus now leases the space it occupies on St. Louis Street, but it will own the terminal it is building at the intersection of Kearney and Patterson streets, said David Grubbs, project director. The building project will go out for bid in about a month, with construction set to be complete this winter, in time for a February move date. The new terminal building will be 6,000 square feet, Grubbs said.

The city hopes all five businesses will be empty or relocated by February 2000 in order for demolition to be completed and ground to be broken on the park in May 2000, Alexander said.

The first property to be demolished will likely be the former Sears warehouse, which probably will be the first to be emptied and ready for demolition, Alexander said. DaBryan Coach has announced plans to relocate to the Partnership Industrial Center. Tri-States/Whitely has sold a portion of its uniform business to Cintas, the uniform company located in the Partnership Industrial Center, said Cliff Smith of Cintas.

Before development of the 35 acres begins, however, the first visible component of Civic Park, a streetscape along Boonville, will begin production. The streetscape is slated for an October completion date, Alexander said. The project will begin on Boonville at Park Central Square, and continue north to Water Street, for phase I.

The streetscape will involve reconfiguring the curbs on Boonville and providing on-street parking. The sidewalks will be replaced and there may also be some decorative brick or cobblestone symbolic of trolley tracks added to the street. New curbs and gutters will be added, as will 14-foot light poles similar to those on Market Street, and trees will be planted along Boonville, Alexander said.

"This will be the first physical change that people will see as a result of Civic Park," Alexander said.

The 35 acres that constitute phase I of the park's development will contain about 40 percent green space. Phase I will also comprise both the recreational ice rink and the Exposition Center to be built by John Q. Hammons.

"It's more appropriate to call it green space as opposed to open space, but there will be grassed areas, landscaped areas and space design along phase I," Alexander said.

In terms of what is going where, he said that LMN Architects, the consultant for the project, is still evaluating the layout. The firm has four potential layouts for phase I. The recreational ice rink will be on a different timeline for development from the rest of phase I, however. The exposition center and first 35 acres are set to be ready in May or June of 2001, while the ice rink will not open until the fall of 2001, Alexander said.

"Typically, ice rinks do not do their best business in the summer, and it could be costly to open it up and have to keep it open during these slow months," Alexander said.

It has not yet been determined what will happen to the roughly 15 acres Conco is making available for Civic Park. The area comprises the quarry and adjacent property along National Avenue, he added.[[In-content Ad]]

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