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Three neighborhoods anticipate parks

Friday, September 12, 2008 | 3:22 p.m. CDT; updated 8:21 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 14, 2008

COLUMBIA - Residents of three neighborhoods are looking forward to new parks the city plans to develop in the near future.

The three new parks will be in the Cascades, the Grasslands and on Smiley Lane near the Vanderveen subdivision. City park planners Mike Snyder and Richard Perkins have held recent meetings with residents of each neighborhood. They presented them with two options for typical park developments and asked for feedback on what they would like their parks to look like.

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For further information on neighborhood parks, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 874-7201 or visit its Web site at gocolumbiamo.com/ParksandRec/.


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Attendees were given comment sheets to fill out, asking them which of the two options they preferred and what they liked and disliked about each option. The plans will then evolve based on the comments.

Among the top concerns were safety, building materials and age-level appeal of the play equipment.

Vanderveen resident Bill Wells worried about safety, saying one of his top priorities in a park is "having a playground away from the street." Residents of all three neighborhoods expressed similar concerns on the comment sheets. Wells also expressed interest in what material would be used to make the playground, saying he would "prefer plastic to wood."

Many residents also urged the city to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act by incorporating such features as non-gravel play surfaces and trails of the appropriate width. Snyder assured residents that all ADA requirements would be met.

Wells, the father of a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, said he would also like to see a playground that his younger children can enjoy.

Cascades resident Sherry Kudrna, a mother of two children, ages 8 and 2, said the same about the park coming to her neighborhood. She would "like to see play equipment that appeals to both younger and older children."

Plans for pavilions, or small shaded shelters for small gatherings or for parents to rest in, sparked conversation among residents in all three neighborhoods. Wells is thrilled with the idea but said he would like to see it hooked up with electricity, water, lights and a sound system.

"It would allow families to congregate there for family gatherings or reunions," Wells said.

Residents of the Grasslands and the Cascades, however, aren't as enthusiastic. Cascades residents noted that the subdivision already has a clubhouse and said they would prefer a few picnic tables. One Grasslands resident who filled out a comment sheet worried that a pavilion there would encourage student parties, given the neighborhoods' proximity to fraternity houses.

Kudrna also worried that basketball courts and night lighting could lead to loitering and vandalism in the Cascades park. She would, however, like to see tennis courts, without lights, as a feature of the park. Many residents showed interest in amenities such as tennis courts, sand volleyball courts or a baseball backstop, though none of these were part of the options presented by the park planners.

Although the residents might not agree on the specific features of their parks, they do seem to agree that they'll be nice places for parents and kids to relax and have fun.

"My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and it'll be great to have somewhere across the street for her to take the kids," Wells said, adding that "she is also in a play group, and the park would be a close place for them to meet."

Kudrna also thinks a park will add a lot to her young neighborhood. She said she has talked to several other parents on her street, and "everyone is on board with the park plan."

The city plans to begin dirt work on the Cascades park by the end of the year and will break ground on the Grasslands and Smiley Lane parks next spring. All three parks will be ongoing projects through the summer of 2009.

The City Council held a public hearing on the Grasslands park in June and is scheduled to hold similar hearings on the Cascades and Smiley Lane parks Monday night. The city has a budget of $148,000 for the Grasslands park and budgets of $145,000 for the other two.

 


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr September 12, 2008 | 4:06 p.m.

My question is where will they find the money next year to maintain these parks being they had a hard time finding money for the FY2009 budget.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 13, 2008 | 6:45 p.m.

From the parks and rec sales tax I presume

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 13, 2008 | 8:02 p.m.

I don't underatand why the city needs to build a park in every little private development. It should be the private developers option when the homes are built to decide if he wants to provide a park area for his home builders/purchasers. The Cascades are so far off the beaten path that it will become more of a private park then a public park anyways. What a waste of city money!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 14, 2008 | 4:01 a.m.

John Schultz you miss the point and please go look at how much they had to work FY2009 to get it to work better than when Bill Watkins presented it. That will show you exactly what I and ray are talking about.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 14, 2008 | 1:00 p.m.

No Chuck, I didn't miss your point. You asked about maintenance - the city's voters have passed and reauthorized a parks and rec sales tax (currently at one-quarter cent), which provides at least some of the funding for the maintenance of the city's parks. Unfortunately I couldn't find just how much the tax raised in a fiscal year on the city's website.

If you go to http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/ParksandRec/... you can see that two-thirds of the Grasslands park was covered by the sales tax plus some additional funds from donations, over two-thirds of the Cascades project came from the sales tax, and the same percentage for the Smiley-Vanderveen park.

Even though I don't agree with the parks sales tax, at least the city has funding for a good chunk of the projects they have proposed.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 14, 2008 | 1:30 p.m.

John this year they had to make cuts all across the Parks and Recreation over all budget and if they had to do that this year what about in future years to come. That tiny .25 % is not going to go near as far next year I will bet as it had to this year. This was the only point I was trying to make to you. If They cut P & R this year how will it look next year.

(Report Comment)
Leroy Jenkems September 15, 2008 | 8:35 a.m.

Let these new, urban-fringe developments' developers and residents pay for these parks, along with the infrastructure extended to serve them.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz September 15, 2008 | 10:06 a.m.

The Grasslands is an old subdivision (it is catty corner from Faurot) and someone (I presume the residents) made $13000 in donations for the park funding. I agree with your comments on the other two parks.

(Report Comment)
Leroy Jenkems September 15, 2008 | 11:54 a.m.

Yes, I was referring to the other two.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 15, 2008 | 12:18 p.m.

Well Jon in the future the City should look at this way of doing it so they do not incur those building costs. That is the way alot of cities do it and then maintenance costs can be looked more objectively IMHO.

(Report Comment)

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