COLUMBIA – A playground, three soccer fields, a basketball court and BMX bicycle paths all are part of the city's plans for developing Jay Dix Station, a county-owned park near the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail and Scott Boulevard in southwest Columbia.
The 30-acre park, which is at 3775 S. Scott Blvd., was named in honor of the late medical examiner Jay Dix.
Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs outlined the development plans during a meeting of city and county officials Tuesday afternoon. Griggs said the park also will be developed to educate the public about the railroad industry's impact on the city and to honor Dix's commitment to and passion for physical fitness.
Plans to create a park in the area began after the 2005 death of 7-year-old Patrick Knedler, who was playing on the east side of Scott Boulevard when he was struck and killed by a car.
"When we constructed our 30-year plan, we saw an obvious need to develop a park in this community," Griggs said.
Soccer fields proposed for the park would not be built to the same level of those at Cosmopolitan Park.
"We look at this park as an opportunity to attract a women's lacrosse tournament and host them in a centralized location," Griggs said. "We know that the very nature of that tournament would tear up fields like what we have at Cosmo, but the proposed fields at Jay Dix Station would be more than adequate for that type of tournament."
An agreement between the city of Columbia and Boone County calls for county officials to request that the park property be annexed. The city then would take control of the land and develop and manage the park.
In other action, the city and county leaders heard reports about further development of Scott Boulevard and about the proposed 911 sales tax.
- Construction of Phase II of the multi-year Scott Boulevard project is slated to start by the end of the year. Phase II focuses on the stretch of Scott Boulevard from Brookview Terrace to Vawter School Road.
- The bridge over Hinkson Creek also is scheduled to be replaced, but construction will take as long as four months. While the bridge is out, fire protection for those who live on the north side of the bridge will be provided by Columbia Fire Department Station No. 6. The Boone County Fire Protection District will continue to provide coverage for those south of the bridge from its Station 14.
- The officials said Boone County Farm Bureau has joined the list of groups endorsing a proposed three-eighths-cent sales tax for 911 and emergency management operations. Others endorsing the tax, which appears on the April 2 ballot as Proposition #1, include the Hallsville Chamber of Commerce, Sturgeon Chamber of Commerce, Centralia Board of Aldermen, Crime Stoppers, the Boone County Fire Protection District and the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District.
- Members of the Boone County Commission said they understand public frustration with the proposed tax but said the state legislature has left them no alternatives. Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said she feels the tax is the best solution to a problem widely acknowledged in the community.
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