Columbia, Boone County work toward neighborhood park

Thirty-acre site near Scott Boulevard trail head is the target.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:30 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 19, 2009

COLUMBIA — City officials are working on an agreement to turn 30 acres of county-owned land into a neighborhood park near Scott Boulevard and Vawter School Road.

The Columbia City Council on Monday night accepted a report from Mike Hood, director of Parks and Recreation, that outlines an agreement with Boone County to establish the park at Jay Dix Station, near Hinkson Creek and the head of the MKT Trail at Scott Boulevard. The council asked city staff to come forward with an ordinance to formalize the agreement.

"I like the idea, but in the future you don't foresee removing a lot of ... tree cover (in the area)?" Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser asked Hood. The proposed park would be in Nauser's ward.

"I do think we would protect the tree cover," Hood said.

The agreement calls for joint city-county approval of the park's development.

If approved, the agreement would transfer development, maintenance and operational responsibilities for the land from Boone County to the city. The area is named in memory of Jay Dix, a former Boone County medical examiner and MU associate professor.

"The city's current Parks and Recreation Master Plan for Neighborhood Parks identifies a need for a neighborhood park in the vicinity," Hood said in the report.

The city would pay nothing for the land. Annual maintenance of the property would cost about $4,000; that cost would rise to as much as $8,500 after the property is developed, Hood said in his report.

“This is something that the city and county have been discussing for about two years, and we feel like there’s a lot of potential on that tract of land,” said Skip Elkin, the Boone County northern district commissioner. He's also a member of the county's Board of Parks.

Possible improvements to the park include playground equipment, picnic tables, an outdoor basketball court and open-play soccer fields. If an agreement is approved, the city would allow archery hunting for deer by permit during the state's annual season, which runs from Sept. 15 to Jan. 15.

“Since the county doesn’t have the resources to develop this area, and the city has identified (the need for) a neighborhood park there, we're essentially helping them fulfill their master plan,” Elkin said. “It’s a win-win situation.”

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