Hearing planned on Rock Quarry Park

Monday, September 22, 2008 | 4:33 p.m. CDT; updated 2:07 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A public meeting on proposed improvements to Rock Quarry Park will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the park, 2002 Grindstone Parkway.

The hearing will allow residents to offer input on the design of basketball and tennis courts that are planned for the park and have been part of its master plan since it was first developed.

Current plans are limited to the courts, but Mike Snyder, senior parks planner of the Parks and Recreation Department said the city is "always thinking about the future."

Snyder believes the addition of courts will draw more crowds to the park. He noted the popularity of courts at Bethel Park, also on the south side of town. Basketball courts, he added, should "attract the many college students in the area."

Given the potential increase in park users, the city also has set aside an area for additional parking if it becomes necessary.

The budget for the proposed courts is $190,000. Plans call for beginning construction in the spring. Basketball courts should take about a month, and the tennis courts about two months.


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Charles Dudley Jr September 22, 2008 | 5:31 p.m.

Holy cow tennis courts? One would think with the tight squeaky budget that was controversial for 2009 that the city would be looking to save part of that budget money to roll over to next year instead of wasting it on tennis courts for a city park. Why in the name of Sam Hill did that kind of budgeting proposal get allowed to pass through when this city is seeing a huge crime wave and it is quite obvious to all Columbia citizens that we need increased police presence in all parts of our city. There is also the issues of city sidewalks,coming Winter street maintenance and more yet the city can look at building tennis courts? They did not budget to buy new equipment in the last budget but they can budget tennis courts? Somebody at City Hall needs a wake up call or the citizens of this city next election cycle need to elect officials who will focus on the important issues facing this city.

(Report Comment)
skip walther September 23, 2008 | 7:33 a.m.

The residents of this city have passed sales tax issues that earmark revenues for park projects. The money to be spent on Rock Quarry Park courts comes from those sales tax issues and cannot be spent on other needs like police. City Hall is not responsible for this situation; the voters in Columbia are. I happen to believe that it makes perfect sense to spend park money on tennis courts. At what point did we forget the importance of recreation in building the future of our children?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 23, 2008 | 8:05 a.m.

At what point Skip did we also forget about the over all need to protect our citizens and children over the need of building parks,bike trails,tennis courts and other things that will not help protect our citizens and the children of those citizens.
All of those things mean absolutely nadda squat unless you have the police protection to secure them for your citizens and beyond.
Prove me wrong sir.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 23, 2008 | 9:10 a.m.

The city manager must be more concerned about keeping "Bob the Builder "in the green," through Parks and Rec constructions, than having essential services such as clean water, educated children, safe schools, streets and parks,new employment opportunities and improved roads and sidewalks. Anything is more important than city funding seasonal outdoor "tennis anyone" or B-ball for college students.
Tax money earmarked for park projects could be better "invested/used" elsewhere. Thursday's meeting to discuss "the design" of this $190,000 expenditure is a joke, unless the only people in attendance are the builders.

P.S.- I visited the city's newly opened "Phillips Lake" Sunday, following the Heritage Festival. It's not safe.

(Report Comment)
Tom Miller September 23, 2008 | 9:33 a.m.

I do not live my life in fear. Nor have I ever been concerned for my safety or anyone else's at a city tennis court. More courts for all!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 23, 2008 | 9:43 a.m.

Make sure your laces are tied when you serve up your ball!

(Report Comment)
skip walther September 24, 2008 | 7:25 a.m.

We all have a right to complain about spending priorities. In this case, however, the city has received sales tax revenues because the voters approved a plan that earmarks the revenues for park purposes. The City Council cannot overturn the will of the electorate. The money in the park fund simply cannot be used for police protection; it can only be used to build and maintain parks.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 24, 2008 | 7:50 a.m.

The point is why are the citizens of this city so worried about building parks,tennis courts,bike trails that do nothing to help prevent or stop crime when it should be concentrating and voting on issues such as crime prevention,more police presence,tougher laws on criminal offenders and such things that enable the citizens of Columbia to feel safe on their own streets,places of work and in their educational institutions.
This is an important issue that the citizens of this city need to wake up to now or expect alot more crime in the future due to their own complacency in voting where tax moneys need to go to do the most good in the long run for this city and that is not in tennis courts,parks,bike trails and other silly ventures of the rich and famous all the while criminals continue to roam our city with immunity.
Skip if my statements of the actual needs of this city presented here are so wrong please show how us all how so.

(Report Comment)
Leroy Jenkems September 24, 2008 | 8:47 a.m.

Charles you aren't contributing, thus you have no right to complain about how other people's taxes are spent.

If we had judges and legislators who are tough on crime, the people who get arrested and then set free over and over would be in jail for decades or getting the chair. Instead of spending more on jails, create a tent city, like they do in Arizona. Cheap and effective. Who cares if they get frostbite or heat stroke. They chose to commit crimes.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 24, 2008 | 10:28 a.m.

Leroy Jenkems everytime I pay City Based Taxes no matter where I spend my money I do contribute money to the over all City Tax Fund Base. So you are totally wrong in your statement that I do not contribute to those taxes. Also I am a registered voter as well so I do also contribute in that way as well.
Your statements once again you post up here are totally moot being you refuse to post under your real name and thus IMHO you have no accountability whatsoever in telling me or anybody for that matter about contributing.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 24, 2008 | 11:23 a.m.

Actually, the citizens aren't so worried about building all this stuff. The city is. The problem is that we don't replace our leadership very often, and we often don't have much of a choice when we do.

Not building these parks, garages, or tennis courts will not make more money available for police operations. Only a tax increase will do that, and that has to be voted on.

Use some of your time and get a petition together, to have an increase in sales tax, earmarked for the police department, put on the next possible ballot. I can even help you write it.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 24, 2008 | 1:46 p.m.

Mark Foecking the big reason they are not worried is complacency and just flatly not being in the know to all of the issues. No you do have a choice and that is to get out and vote for who you want in those offices who will put this city on the proper track it should be. You always have a choice and a voice and to think you do not is being completely complacent.

On the petition part if you get it going or if another concerned citizen gets it going or wants to create a committee to look at this issue I will be more than happy to assist as I can.I have plenty going on right now but I try to help others as I can if they are first willing to step up and first help themselves.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 25, 2008 | 12:33 p.m.

We can only vote for who is running, Chuck. Writing in a candidate wastes your vote.

Do not confuse complacency with prosperity. You and I both know we have food, clothing, shelter, and leisure into the forseeable future. Especially you, live in one of the most secure buildings in Columbia. You have a 99.9% chance of waking up tomorrow and having exactly what you have today. The little bumps along the way are not necessarily anything to get worked up over.

Because most Columbia voters do not spend hours acting like the sky is falling, it does not mean we are complacent. We simply put the little bumps in perspective (do you know what that means?). If you had more to do with your time, you might find things that matter more than getting upset over relatively minor issues.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 25, 2008 | 1:39 p.m.

Mark you gotta be the most complacent citizen of Columbia but I will put money on it that if a violent crime was to happen to you,your family,your neighbor or a friend you would be the first in line screaming "where were the police or where is our police or where is our crime prevention units.

I unlike you do not worry about the sky falling in. Wasn't it you who posted on another forum how you were ready for alot of things that could happen where you would have to be self sufficient?

My point is which is more important to the citizens of this city? The voting to build more parks,tennis courts and such that do not provide police protections and influences or the voting of measures by citizens to strengthen our police forces so we do get more patrols,police education in our schools and more.

If it is the vote of the people to vote for more parks over more police then the citizens have no rights to complain when we do not have enough police presence now do they.

As far as spending my time I spend that time speaking up alot of times for those citizens who have problems speaking up for themselves reflecting their views on wanting more advocacy for change and that change is something better than what we have now.

What do you do with your time that makes you so special to be questioning me about my time?
Instead of berating me about my points of view which you always do why don't you come up with better solutions to what we have now that we are dealing with and be one of those who help to solve problems instead.
After all if you have time to berate me here you have time to help solve or work on solutions to current city problems one would think unless you just do not care about your fellow citizens.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 25, 2008 | 3:28 p.m.

If a violent crime were happening to me or my loved ones, I'd defend myself with anything up to and including deadly force. This is one thing I'm quite prepared for, because where I live it has been a known problem. The police can't get there fast enough.

My issue with you is that you really have very little understanding of how these problems need to be approached, or even which problems are big and which are small. I'm anything but complacent, but I also know there are some issues, like the THM's in our water, that are such minor risks they are not worth worrying about. Plus, they'll fix it.

You just want change. You get very worked up over wanting things to change. Could it be that most people are rather happy with their lives here? They keep returning Mayor Hindman to office, and many of the council members run unopposed. Might that tell you that calling us complacent and stupid might be due to your misunderstanding of our community, especially since your needs are very much different from almost everyone else's?


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 25, 2008 | 4:38 p.m.

Why are my needs any different. I go out around town just as you do. I go out to dinner just like you do and last I checked I put my pants on one leg at a time just as you do. I do go all around town at times talking to alot of different people in different parts of the city as well. If we do not need more police protection and education in our schools how come crime is up in our schools and in all neighborhoods all over town?
One would think that added police protection,patrols and education in our schools would be a real good thing compared to building parks,tennis courts,bike trails and the such wouldn't you? Unless you like the rise in crime across all neighborhoods of Columbia and in that case one must ask what your motivation is to choose those things that do not bring more police protection,patrols,school educational programs that would actually benefit the citizens of Columbia over time alot more.
Remember you can always at a later time build parks,tennis courts,bike trails and the like at later dates but added police presence is a "now thing" and to criminals thinking of doing those crimes it is a "in your face thing". It is quite obvious to alot of people that it is needed not just now but in the future so this city can keep ahead of the growing crime rates as more people move here from places such as St Louis,Kansas City,Springfield and other larger cities where those committing the crimes have wore out their welcomes and are now moving here to partake of the "soft targets" due to the long running of some form of complacency in planning for the future police presence in this city as it grows. You can deny the need all you want that is your choice to make but the people in the community that I talk to want this city's police force to be ahead of any and all crime curves before the building of parks and such so they,their children and their grandchildren can feel safe in this city as they should be able too.
People I have talked to complain of slow response times by police so that also would tell anybody with any common sense that obviously more patrols need to be added.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 25, 2008 | 4:50 p.m.

I don't deny the need for more police. Neither does anyone else. I merely deny that building parks has anything to do with police funding. It would be great if that 1/4 cent could be used for police, but it cannot, because the voters did not approve it.

How about suggesting to Karl Skala that council suggest 1/4 cent for cops? It would go to the voters the first available opportunity. Or the petition thing. But going on and on about parks and tennis courts are not solving the problem. Skip Walther pointed this out to you too. You just make yourself look foolish by carrying on like you do.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 25, 2008 | 5:36 p.m.

Yes I know that the 1/4 cent tax goes to P & R but does that mean it has to be spent on building new parks per say? Why not channel some of that money to fund say more Park Rangers who could be on patrol since we have so many parks in this city I think that would be a great idea. Also those Park Rangers by their presence could help to deter crime as well since they do a have a radio last I checked and could call in if they see any problems. Did you look at this issue that way?
Remember you can always build parks and such later on down the line but you cannot just pop up with police presence at the drop of a pin.
That is the point as I said that must be addressed by the citizens of this city. Do they want more and an increasing crime rate or do they want parks that do nothing to prevent or educate in crime prevention.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 25, 2008 | 5:46 p.m.

To- Chuck Dudley, Jr.
"You're smarter than the average bear!"
From- Ranger Smith

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 25, 2008 | 6:05 p.m.

ray shapiro you know I took my "blinders" off along ago my friend.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 26, 2008 | 5:06 a.m.

Park Rangers are basically police officers, Chuck. They are armed, and have full arrest powers. However, they do not have the jurisdiction that a CPD officer would. They are not supposed to patrol the problems area of the city (most of which are not parks).

Why is this so hard for you to get - P & R funds cannot be spent on the police department. A tax that is earmarked for one purpose cannot be used for another purpose BY LAW. I agree with you that we need police more than we need parks. That's not the issue. This issue is that your solution is illegal, therefore we might as well not be discussing it.

You are obviously intelligent and motivated, Chuck. But you feel the world should operate as you think it should, and you feel this makes you some sort of visionary. That is a sure fire way to get marginalized, and your message lost. People will think you're crazy, and that you're doing this for self-aggrandizement, or out of boredom.

Email Skala now, before you go off on me being complacent. Do it now, and ask him about a 1/4 cent for cops. Maybe you'll even get your name in the paper.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 26, 2008 | 6:00 a.m.

Mark you just do not get it do you. Park Rangers drive between parks which are located all over town. Park Ranger sees crime reports it in. It is that simple. You kill two birds with one stone. You put more Park Rangers around town for all of these parks where there are existing problems ie: Douglas,Stephens,Paquin and others plus you give the CPD anther set of eyes.
On the 1/4 cent why not a 1/2 cent being our prensent police force is having a problem keeping on top of the crime rates in our schools and neighborhoods.
The question here is what do citizens really want more: growing crime numbers in our future or more parks so they can go skipping joyfully around the "May Pole" at all the while criminals roam our streets with immunity.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking September 26, 2008 | 7:22 a.m.

I'm sure most of them want more police, Chuck. I certainly do. That's not the question.

If more people of any stripe phoned in when they saw a crime, that would solve far more of the problem than hiring a bunch more park rangers. You'd be paying a bunch of people to do little more than what we'd hope an average citizen would do.

If we want more police, we need to raise the funds for more police. I believe 1/4 cent brings in about $6 million/year - that's more than enough to get 25 more police officers and equipment. Hell, two million would do that. 1/8 cent for cops? Has a nice ring to it.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 26, 2008 | 1:11 p.m.

I say 1/2 percent so that more police educational opportunities can be taken into the schools.

(Report Comment)

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