Property in place for 130-acre Columbia park

Thursday, January 22, 2009 | 7:47 p.m. CST; updated 12:26 p.m. CST, Friday, January 23, 2009

This story has been modified to clarify comments from parks manager Mike Griggs.

COLUMBIA — A 130-acre park that will help the city fulfill its Greenbelt Plan and its Master Trail Plan is in the works for western Columbia.

Plans for the park took a step forward Tuesday when the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a bill to annex and rezone 27 1/2 acres of undeveloped floodplain on the southwest side of Strawn Road, also known as Route ZZ. The property was previously zoned for single-family residential use in the county. The city established R-1,or single-family, zoning, which is typical for parks.


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The plans for this park and other nature areas are outlined a document, available for download as a PDF on the city's Web site, titled "Metro Greenbelt/Trail Plan". Those plans, adopted in 2002 and updated in 2005, identify the maintenance of nature areas as important and provide a general location or route for each of the future trails proposed for Columbia. The plans are conceptual, however, and do not identify exact locations of the trails. Precise alignments are necessary so the city can identify and acquire right of way.

Parks and Recreation director Mike Hood said the city bought the land for the 130-acre park from Ralph and Laveta Anderson in late December 2008 for $185,500.

"The city had an appraisal done, and then the property owner had an appraisal done to get an estimate of value. The purchase price is the midpoint between those two values," Hood said.

Park Services manager Mike Griggs said that when the former landowners were looking to sell the land, they came to the city first.


The park property includes the 27 1/2-acre Anderson tract and 102 adjacent acres the city already owned. Griggs said that in accordance with the Greenbelt Plan, development of the park will protect streams and their surrounding area.

"We're not letting anyone bulldoze here,” Griggs said. “The Greenbelt Plan doesn't allow that within a stream corridor."

A new trail in conjunction with the park will run alongside Perche Creek before intersecting with the MKT Trail. Griggs said the city's goal is eventually to create a loop of trails around Columbia, including the MKT; the Bear Creek, Cosmo Park and Hinkson Creek trails; and the Perche Creek Trail in planning.

"Columbia is rapidly developing, and the parks and trails master plan(s) help us line out our future sites for trails and parks," Griggs said. "The citizens have a great deal of input into these master plans, and we make sure their needs are met."

It will probably take a year or two to develop plans for the new park, Griggs said, because the city has no money designated for it yet. Because the area can flood four or more times a year, he sees the park becoming more of an open field with soccer goals, which would allow the area to be used for other sports such as rugby and Ultimate Frisbee.

"If it does flood, it really won't do a lot of damage,” Griggs said. “A fence in a flood gets torn up, so baseball fields probably won't be built there just because of that."

In the next few years, the Parks and Recreation Department staff will evaluate the site to determine how the future park can best benefit the community.


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Charles Dudley Jr January 23, 2009 | 3:56 a.m.

OMG not another one.

(Report Comment)
marvin saunders January 23, 2009 | 6:44 a.m.

Ok mayor & council what next.Oh i know turn the city of columbia from city limit to city limit a park.Surely mayor that will give you enough room to play.You were a lonely child weren't you?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 23, 2009 | 10:50 a.m.

They should just rename the city to "Park City" in honor of all of these great parks they just have to build.

Oh and that name is not taken yet either here in the state.

Go go go city council you can do it!

(Report Comment)
Jason Entermyer January 23, 2009 | 12:18 p.m.

Dud, I think the parks and trails are great and reflect many reasons why people chose to live here and especially, why businesses relocate and stay here. What I'm afraid I have to agree with you (I CAN'T believe I said that!!!) on are seeing park funds being spent on non-essential services such as Paquin Towers and the CARE job program. Those are social services and when things get tight, those have to be cut.

Sorry boys, but the City of Fenton already has the name "City of Parks." We're not close.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 23, 2009 | 12:28 p.m.

Well which is really more important here is the case I guess.

Funding social programs that keep kids out of trouble,juvie court and worse and older at risk citizens out of the health care system that is already over loaded or planting a tree so you can hug it to your wildest desires.

It seems people are now only second rate to objects that cannot think,talk,save a life,love or just give a kind word to somebody in need if we go by your ideals you post.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand January 23, 2009 | 12:35 p.m.

If more people would take responsibility for themselves and their offspring, a lot of social programs wouldn't be necessary. Case in point: the $7.6 billion spent annually on teenage births. Same thing for waste such as the $100,000 that the city wants to get via federal stimulus to pay for security cameras at Douglass Park. Show some self-control so you're not a burden to society.

(Report Comment)
Jason Entermyer January 23, 2009 | 12:48 p.m.

How does ceramic programs at Paquin keep people out of the health system? Maybe it sharpens the mind and keeps people socially connected. Same argument is easily made by parks and trails. Populations with access to low cost or free fitness opportunities have much lower per-capita health costs. I think you have to look at the number of users and the per dollar cost. Paquin is the highest subsidzied city program. I think it's important, just as much as parks and trails, so when you scream cut "parks" you are screaming about all things parks and recreation related.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 23, 2009 | 4:00 p.m.

Jason Entermyer often times people who suffer from mental and physical disorders find it very hard to go out into public or even to leave their homes due to the continual stigmas relating to all classifications of mental and physical illness. It is real and cannot be denied either. It is a fact. Alot of these at risk citizens have been this way from birth.

Often times some of the simplest of things like having a crafts room to go to and work on something as simple as a piece of pottery or a painting of some sort helps them to make it through one more day or even days and not have to be looked after by case workers or them having to be warehoused in a nursing home. With out a place like this these at risk citizens would sink deeper into their already problematic lives and in time would have to be ware housed by the health care system in some fashion or the other.

Ask City Councilman Jerry Wade how these types of programs help his own aging parents if you want some solid proof. I am sure he would be glad to give you an education on this issue. "Jerry Ward4" <> He was one of the biggest supporters of saving this valuable program in the FY2009 Budget Hearings.

In fact my online acquaintance here why don't you come down off of your high horse and come over to Paquin Tower some time and ask somebody who is in the craft room how much it helps them therapeutically. It is open M - F to the public from 11 am to 4pm.

This program has been there since 1973 when it was instituted and put together by a very sweet lady who retired from the city named "Cookie" and I am sure if you call Sarah Bowman at the Paquin Tower P & R office you can get Cookie's phone number and schedule a meeting with her to further your obvious lack of an education in this matter.

The fact is that socialized programs such as the one at Paquin Tower do help keep at risk citizens out of the health care systems by providing a place for these citizens to go and be creative.

Sure I agree parks are lovely to visit and lovely to see but not all people can get out to those parks but do we need to develop these park land right away? Do they have to be bought as soon as possible? Some citizens say no to both of those questions and would rather see the City Council focus more on crime and educational needs as well as light and commercial building developments to bring more companies to Columbia thus creating jobs and bringing our local economy back up.

You can go build a park any ole day but you cannot always attract a thriving company with just that park. You must have a better plan of action.

(Report Comment)

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