Excelsior Springs educators want to demolish eyesore hotel, build new one on property

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- People in Clay County complained for years about the eyesore.

An old motel in Excelsior Springs, known for decades as a seedy destination, now has the potential of a new future in the hands of local educators.

Educators from the Excelsior Springs School District said they have interesting new plans for the old Monterey Motel, which is out of business, but still sits at St. Louis Avenue and Veterans Memorial Drive.

It's known around Clay County as a motel that attracted the wrong element.

A spokesperson for Excelsior Springs Police told FOX4 the old motel gained a reputation as a place where drugs were used and alcohol was abused. In late November, the Excelsior Springs School District purchased the old motel, and educators want to demolish the building and use this property to educate local kids.

"I'd say it's a win-win for our community and it can be for our kids," Dr. Mark Bullimore, principal at Excelsior Springs Middle School, said.

Bullimore, who spoke for the school district on Tuesday, talked about Proposition A, a proposed 20-year bond that local voters will consider in April. It would give the district $20 million, part of which could be used to replace Lewis Elementary School, which sits immediately behind the defunct motel.

Bond money would also provide students at Westview Elementary School with a new building. The bond would require a property tax of 19 cents per homeowner per day.

"(That) would be about $4.50 per month. Four dollars and fifty cents per month to get two brand new schools," Bullimore explained.

Bullimore said an alternate plan would use the land where the Monterey currently sits as a parking area or access avenue for Lewis Elementary School, which currently has no parking lot. Parents have to park on the street side while picking up their children.

"Lewis is over 70-years-old. The maintenance on it alone would be able to pay for the utilities on a new building," Bullimore said Tuesday.

Plans for the old motel are a hot topic around Clay County. Several voters commented they plan to support Prop A, and one commented they'd get behind anything that benefits local kids and rids the community of the old eyesore motel.

Critics of Proposition A complain the project shouldn't be a high-priority item, but Bullimore explained district leaders would like to begin construction before building costs go higher.

Proposition A would also include money to make improvements at Excelsior Springs high school and middle school.

Amos Mullin, who works about a block away from the Monterey at the Mill Inn Restaurant, said he plans to support Prop A. Mullin, an Excelsior Springs native, is also a father with kids in the local school system.

"(The motel) is kind of rundown. They don't ever improve it," Mullin shrugged. "They've got a lot of kids that go around down there. It's kind of overpopulated, I think. You have to park halfway down the road if you want to pick your kids up."

Excelsior Springs voters will go to the polls for this issue and others on April 2.

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