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Columbia Missourian

Construction at A. Perry Philips Park begins, focuses on fishing

By Jessica Cherry
February 11, 2009 | 5:54 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The first phase of construction at A. Perry Philips Park is ready to begin, and by the end of the summer residents should see significant development around Bristol Lake.

Plans call for a trail, restrooms, a picnic pavilion, a fishing dock, a boat dock and ramp, and parking for cars and boat trailers.


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Money for the projects comes from the Missouri Department of Conservation and the city’s one-eighth-cent parks sales tax. Long-term proposals for the 460-acre regional park — which also includes Gans Creek Recreation Area — include ball fields, equestrian facilities, a water park, an RV campground, tennis courts, an indoor sports complex and perhaps even an ice rink.

But full development of the park will take years. For now, park services manager Mike Griggs said, the focus is on fishing.

“The only things we have money to build out there at Philips are the fishing facilities,” Griggs said. “That is the one thing we do want to build this summer because we’ve recognized that the public is itching to get out there and fish.”

The lake, which features populations of largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and gizzard shad, is already open to the public, but there are no facilities or designated parking areas near the lake. Those who want to put a boat in the lake have to do so without the benefit of a ramp; that means carrying it in.

The phase-one project design came to light last week when city staff sought approval of the development plans from the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission. The only issue raised by commissioners was compliance with the city’s stormwater ordinance.The Parks and Recreation Department also must submit the plans to City Council for approval before construction can begin.

“We want to make sure that the city department knows that we are following all the guidelines and regulations that everyone else has to follow — and the private developers have to follow — and in fact we want to set the standard,” Griggs said. “We want to go above and beyond what the private developers are required to do as well.”

Parks and Recreation staff intend to resubmit a master plan with future phases of the regional park after reading public comments on two master plans that already have been proposed.