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Plans afoot for full-fledged park at Jay Dix Station

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 5:24 p.m. CDT; updated 11:33 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Columbia Parks and Recreation is planning to expand the Jay Dix Station on the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail into a small park. The proposed funds were approved as a part of the fiscal year 2013 Columbia city budget.

COLUMBIA — Jay Dix Station is little more than two parking lots at an MKT Nature and Fitness Trail access and a sign dedicating the trail head to Jay Dix, former Boone County medical examiner and avid runner.

The city plans to turn 30 acres of land adjacent to the trail head into a neighborhood park with a playground, pavilion, basketball court, additional parking and three sports fields. The plan would also integrate existing practice fields on the other side of Scott Boulevard, said Ryan Atkinson, project manager of the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. 

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Parks staff will host a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday to share the plan and take comments. The meeting will be held at Jay Dix Station at 3775 S. Scott Blvd. 

The goal of the meeting is to present the plan to the public and hear what ideas local residents have to improve it, Atkinson said.

The $125,000 plan was included in the city budget recently approved by the Columbia City Council. Atkinson said the primary costs will include the playground and surfacing for the basketball court.

The 30 acres is owned by Boone County government but managed by the city parks department as a part of a 2009 agreement between city and county.

Dix served as the medical examiner of Boone and Callaway counties for more than 20 years. He was also a professor of pathology at MU. Dix was a frequent runner and an annual 5k run in his memory had its 10th race last May. 

On Monday evening, Jason Van Eaton was at Jay Dix Station to run on the MKT trail. He said his wife and two children often use the trail access and would welcome the park.

"It's a good way to have a multi-use out of an amenity the city already owns," Van Eaton said.  

Kattesh Katti uses the MKT trail access at Jay Dix Station for walks. 

"It's OK as long as they don't disturb the walking trail. Leave the walking trail untouched. It is Columbia's best kept secret, so leave it alone," he said Monday.

The proposed plan would not affect the layout of the trail access, Atkinson said.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.


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