COLUMBIA — The Parks and Recreation department hopes to open a new activity center at the Waters-Moss Wildlife Area by Dec. 31.
Renovations to what was previously the Conservation Department's office would create an activity center off of Old 63. It would replace the current activity center at Stephen's Lake Park on East Walnut Street, Karen Chandler, superintendent of recreation and community programs, said.
Parks and Recreation currently rents the activity center at Stephen's Lake Park from Randy Adams for roughly $118,000 a year, and its lease ends Dec. 31. The department's Life Enrichment classes, Oak Tours program and more than 50 programs for seniors would be moved to the new facility.
Members of the community, including council members Barbara Hoppe, Ward 6, Daryl Dudley, Ward 4, and Michael Trapp, Ward 2, met with staff members Thursday night to discuss the proposed master plan for the entire Waters-Moss Wildlife Area.
Other proposed changes includes the addition of a park, a reservable pavilion and a trail. Mike Griggs, assistant director of the Parks and Recreation department, said the changes would make the land a community park that would service a three-mile area. If approved, construction wouldn't begin until summer, he said.
Columbia resident Bill Wise, however, is concerned with development in the Waters-Moss area, particularly because of how it could affect the quality of the watershed and as a result, the wildlife.
Wise, who lives nearby, has noticed a decline in wildlife that comes near his property, especially the number of deer. In 2002, a herd of roughly 18 deer would roam near his property, he said. He hasn't seen as many deer in the past two years.
Parks and Recreation staff will take the plan to the volunteer Parks and Recreation commission on Feb. 21, and then to the City Council for approval, Griggs said.