City plans purchase of Philips for park

If the land deal is approved, the 140 acres will become a park named after A. Perry Philips.
Sunday, September 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:59 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

The city appears to be only weeks away from buying a large portion of the Philips tract for a new city park.

The Columbia City Council on Tuesday will introduce an ordinance calling for acquisition of 140 acres of the former farm in southeast Columbia.

The ordinance, which follows through with an agreement the council made when it annexed the land and approved zoning requested by developer Elvin Sapp, authorizes the city to buy 77 acres of the property for $1.2 million. The city would also accept the donation of the 40-acre Bristol Lake and 23 acres of land surrounding it.

If approved, the park will be named after A. Perry Philips, the former owner of the land, according to a report to the council.

Columbia Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hood said preliminary designs for the park included fishing holes, wildlife areas and picnic areas around the lake. The rest of the land could be used for soccer fields.

Hood said the city has not finalized any plans and has no timetable for when construction on the park could begin.

“There isn’t an approved master plan for the park yet,” Hood said.

Hood said the city is still talking with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to acquire 320 acres south of Gans Road that is owned by the Crane family. The Crane property would connect the Philips park to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

If the Crane property is to become a public park, Hood said, it remains unsettled whether the city would buy the property or whether it would be a joint effort with DNR.

“All options are still being considered,” Hood said.

DNR spokeswoman Sue Holst said the park project is still on the table.

“We have expressed an interest to the city that we would like to see the Crane property protected somehow,” Holst said.

Sapp plans a mix of residential, office and commercial uses on the Philips tract, which totals 489 acres. The council approved annexation and zoning of the land this spring after a lengthy series of public hearings that focused largely on the impact the development will have on Gans and Clear creeks.

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