COLUMBIA — A brand new shelter with a concession area and a four-stall restroom is in the works for Cosmopolitan Park. The new facilities, which would cost an estimated $160,000, are intended to accommodate soccer, football, lacrosse and softball players.
A resolution to schedule a March 18 public hearing on the project is on the Columbia City Council's regular meeting agenda for Monday.
The Columbia Cosmopolitan Club has donated $15,000 for the buildings, and the Columbia Youth Football League will contribute $20,000. The $125,000 balance will come from the city's parks sales tax if the council eventually votes to go ahead with the project, according to a report to the council from Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hood.
The buildings are planned for the east side of the park, near the parking lot for the Rainbow Softball Center and nearby lacrosse and football fields. If approved, construction would begin this spring and the work would be done by summer.
Cosmo Park is one of several venues for the annual Show-Me State Games. It also hosts soccer and lacrosse games and is the home field for Columbia Youth Football League teams.
The football league already has donated $10,000 for the project, and its board of directors has pledged to give another $10,000 once the buildings are complete.
The concession building primarily will serve the football league, which has more than 900 boys and girls in kindergarten through seventh grade. Teams from surrounding towns such as Centralia and Boonville also would benefit during tournaments. A fall football tournament usually draws about 600 families from out of town, while the Show Me Games attract as many as 900 families.
Columbia Youth Football League Treasurer John Heider, a parent of two boys who play football, called the relationship between the league and the city “fabulous” and praised the partnership to fund the project.
“This is a great idea and a great opportunity for the CYFL to utilize facilities that we’ve not had before,” Heider said. “The facilities will be convenient for families who will no longer have to leave the games (in order) to go to a gas station to get soda for their kids.”
Chad Henry, a former league board member, said he is thrilled about the prospects for a concession building and shelter. He noted that about 1,000 families come to Sunday football games during the league's season, which features games from morning until dark. The league also has weeknight games.
“Before, we just arranged tables and sold snacks, drinks and hot dogs," Henry said. "Now the permanent facilities will increase our revenue, which can buy equipment throughout the year and also bring down the registration fees.”
The Parks and Recreation Department staff pitched a plan to the City Council last April that called for building a small shelter and purchasing a pre-fabricated restroom and concession building. It became apparent, however, that the restroom and concession facility would be too small to accommodate the needs of the football league and the Columbia Youth Lacrosse League. That's when the football board decided to put some money into the project.
Softball players who tailgate before and after games at the Rainbow complex also would be able to use the buildings.
Hood noted in his report that although the new facilities will increase the city's electric, water and sewer use, those costs would be partially offset because the city no longer will need to rent portable restrooms.
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