COLUMBIA — Visitors to Stephens Lake Park should expect to see detour signs on the trail along the north side of the lake as crews build a bridge that eventually will cross a new waterfall.
Construction began last week, and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department expects work on the 200-foot downhill waterfall to continue through the fall and into winter. The waterfall will be northeast of the lake’s island on the northern hill; the bridge is expected to be done by Sept. 15.
The portion of the trail that will be affected runs along the walkway closest to the lake’s northern shore. The detour will redirect visitors to the boardwalk and alternate trails surrounding the park.
A recirculating system will feed lake water into the waterfall, which will cascade over Missouri limestone boulders and back into the lake. According to the parks department, the waterfall will beautify the trail and, through aeration and natural filtration, improve the quality of the lake water.
The waterfall was part of the master plan for the park.
“What the citizens told us they wanted was a combination of a traditional park and arboretum botanical garden,” said Mike Snyder, senior parks planner.
A donation of $50,000 from the estate of Russ and Mary Nall will pay for the waterfall project, including the pump, the bridge and materials such as boulders and concrete. The parks department will provide the bulk of the labor, but the city also has a contract with Roy Richardson Excavating, which will assist with heavy equipment operations.