City, state could swap land in lease agreement

Thursday, December 4, 2008 | 7:19 p.m. CST; updated 7:25 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 4, 2008

COLUMBIA — Pending City Council approval, Columbia Parks and Recreation may swap 17.5 acres for 106 acres.

The city has a tentative deal with the Missouri Department of Conservation in which they would each lease a plot of land to the other for a 99-year period. The state would get a 17.5-acre tract of Philips Lake Park, where the Conservation Department would build a community conservation center. In exchange, the city would be allowed use of H. J. Waters and C. B. Moss Memorial Wildlife Area for public recreation purposes, albeit with a few stipulations.

For one, the city could only build in what is being dubbed as the “city-controlled zone,” an area of about 47 acres.

The city would also have to maintain the “natural state” of the wildlife preserve, according to the tentative agreement.

Mike Griggs, the city’s park services manager, said the city would likely use part of the city-controlled land as a satellite maintenance facility from which it could reach nearby Nifong Park.

The agreement also allows for construction of a pedestrian trail along the south fork of Grindstone Creek.

The wildlife area is located south of Stadium Boulevard and west of Old 63.

The Conservation Department’s new center at Philip's Lake Park would house a number of its regional researchers and staff, some relocated from facilities currently at the wildlife area.

The center would also have classrooms that could be made available for public use for conservation-related programs.

The facility would be built with conservation construction principles in mind.

“Our thought is that the building and the site (and its development) become a teaching tool,” said Jacob Careaga, who works within the department’s design development division.

The agreement will be discussed at the council’s work session at 6 p.m. Monday in the fourth floor conference room of the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway,  and could be up for approval as early as its Dec. 15 meeting.

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