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Parks and Recreation Commission discusses improvements, new projects for 2012 master plan

Thursday, March 15, 2012 | 11:47 p.m. CDT; updated 9:44 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 16, 2012

COLUMBIA — An ice skating rink, dog parks, an equestrian trail and five new parks are among the new improvements being proposed for the city. 

The Parks and Recreation Commission met Thursday to discuss and revise the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, which includes a list of possible improvements.

Many of the improvements are intended to provide recreation outlets for residents, but others were also chosen for their potential to increase tourism.

Not every proposed item in the plan will be completed. Funding, which comes from the park sales tax, and public input will be the two main deciders for which facilities, trails or parks get chosen, Janet Godon, park education specialist, said.

Among the projects are:

Proposed premier destination facilities

  • A family friendly aquatic park
  • Full service campground
  • Disc golf championship course
  • Ice arena: This year-round facility would include one ice rink with room for future expansion of another one. It would include locker rooms, spectator seating and concessions. A. Perry Philips Park and Clary-Shy Community Park/Activity Recreation Center were discussed as possible locations for the arena. Godon said this idea has received a lot of support from the public. 
  • Multi-use indoor sports field house
  • Outdoor soccer complex
  • Multi-use indoor courts: A four to six court facility with scoreboards, bleachers and locker rooms as well as office space. Philips Park and Clary-Shy Park/ARC are possible locations.

Athletic and aquatic facilities

  • Baseball/softball game and practice fields
  • Football/lacrosse practice fields
  • Multi-use outdoor synthetic turf fields 
  • Pickleball indoor and outdoor facilities
  • Indoor Olympic-sized pool 
  • Outdoor neighborhood pool
  • Tennis courts with air-supported tennis dome

Indoor and outdoor community facilities

Indoor

  • Downtown community recreation center
  • Nature Interpretive Center: An educational facility with office and classroom space. A center like this would possibly be located at Gans Creek Recreation Area or Bonnie View Nature Sanctuary both of which are currently undeveloped. 
  • Rental space with 200-person capacity
  • Roller Derby rink
  • Indoor racquetball courts

Outdoor

  • Archery practice range and park
  • Bicycle park with bicycle motocross track
  • Bicycle polo, bocce ball and racquetball courts
  • Community garden plots
  • Two dog parks,one for small dogs only and a second with no water features
  • Equestrian trail 
  • Ice rink 
  • Mountain bike trails
  • Remote-controlled aircraft area
  • Skatepark, "skate dots" or "safe spot" skate features
  • Winter sports park 

New trails/connectors:

  • Parkside Drive: This trail would connect the Parkade subdivision to Cosmopolitan Park via Parkside Drive. 
  • Cosmopolitan Park to Diverging Diamond: This proposed improvement to the overpass at Stadium Boulevard and Interstate 70 would make the area more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. 
  • Thornbrook Connector: This trail would connect the proposed Mill Creek Trail to the Thornbrook subdivision. 
  • Bedford Walk to South Providence: A new trail through Cosmo-Bethel Park and Rock Bridge High Schoolwould connect the residential area along Bethel Road and the South Providence Trail. 
  • Little Bonne Femme Creek Trail: A new trail along Little Bonne Femme Creek would connect future development in southwest Columbia to both the Katy Trail and Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. 
  • Rice Road: A trail would connect the residential area along Rice Road to the future Hinkson Creek Trail corridor. 
  • Hominy Creek to Battle High School: A trail would connect the proposed Hominy Creek Trail and the new school. 

2012 Neighborhood Parks Plan

Eight parks have been created in Columbia since 2002. The 2012 master plan hopes to add five more parks to priority areas. 

The first proposed park would be just north of Smiley Lane Park on the north side of Brown School Road. The second and third proposed parks are in the White Gate neighborhood. The fourth park would be by Battle High School and the fifth park in the Mill Creek area.

The next step in the master plan is for the Parks and Recreation Commission to look over all proposed items, continue to meet with focus groups and write a draft of the plan that will eventually be revised and voted on by the Columbia City Council. 

When the master plan is complete, there will be one more public input meeting before the City Council vote. No date has been set. The goal is to have the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan 2012 draft completed by the end of the calendar year, Godon said.

Every 10 years, the commission must create a new master plan, which includes capital improvement projects, neighborhood park additions and trail improvements and creations. The current plan is a revision of the 2002 plan, and a new plan is required for 2012.


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