Columbia City Council to discuss proposed budget for Maplewood Barn

Friday, May 13, 2011 | 6:49 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The final design plans and a $350,000 budget for Maplewood Barn will be introduced at Monday's City Council meeting.

Maplewood Barn was originally built as a functioning agricultural barn, said Mike Hood, director of Columbia Parks and Recreation. That structure, located in Nifong Park, was destroyed by a fire on April 5, 2010, according to a previous Missourian article.

The old barn was home to the Maplewood Barn Community Theater, Columbia's oldest community theater, and the group has held fundraisers to reconstruct the barn. Of the $350,000 in the budget for the project, $50,000 came from donations, according to a memo from Hood to the council. The 2010 park sales tax will contribute $200,000, and the city expects to bring in between $90,000 and $110,000 from its insurance fund, according to the memo.

Also included in the ordinance are plans to use some of that money for other Nifong Park improvements, such as repairs to the historic Maplewood Home, improvements to other historical structures and, if possible, expansion of the existing parking lot. However, construction of the new barn and repairs on the Maplewood Home are the city's first priority, according to the memo.

The debate over the design plans began last summer. If council members approve the proposed ordinance, the barn will follow a design plan in which the exterior would look similar to the old Maplewood Barn.

The main structure would be made out of wood, and the roof would be made out of a metal similar to that of the old barn's roof. It would be approximately the same size, and the paint will follow the same color scheme as the old barn's design, Hood said.

Hood said the interior would be different than that of the old barn because the old structure was built purely for agricultural purposes.

"The (new) interior is designed for public use, basically," he said.

There will be plumbing and sewage systems installed, electric lighting, a climate control system and a concrete floor, according to the memo. Hood said the old barn had a concrete floor and some limited electricity installed over time, but the new one will be updated to comply with city codes. According to the memo, the plans include staff restrooms, drinking fountains, utility sinks for cleaning, storage rooms and a secure concessions and administrative area.

The barn will be located in the same general area, but shifted slightly to minimize noise from the theater in nearby neighborhoods, according to the memo.

Hood said it was still unclear if the $350,000 allotted in the budget will be enough to cover the construction with all the improvements, so certain aspects, such as a climate control system, might have to be installed in phases.

Hood said the project is scheduled to begin this August and is expected to be completed in early June 2012 in time for the summer theater season.

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