Noah, Lillian, Collin, and Meghan Funkhouser, of Sedalia, spend time together near the replica of the Covered Bridge at Centennial Park, July 4. The department redid the covered bridge this year and has many more improvements planned for the upcoming years. 

The Sedalia Park Board and city officials took a tour of Sedalia parks Thursday evening to look at recent improvements and the improvements to come. 

The board began its meeting at Convention Hall where committee heads gave their reports, minutes and bills were approved, and an employee of the month award was presented. 

During her report, Parks and Recreation Director Amy Epple presented renderings of the community center that show the proposed attributes of the architectural design. 

“These are renderings, these are not anything that we have approved, these are just what works with our budget and what we have kind of been going with,” Epple said. 

“This is more modern than we had originally discussed. When we started talking about what was inside of it, with colors and different features that are in it, the outside needed to reflect what was on the inside.”

Epple also clarified that the tennis courts and baseball fields would not be removed if the community center is built, saying the department has received several questions about it. 

Epple then led attendees on a tour of Sedalia’s park on a city bus. The first stop was Hubbard Park where the department recently finished resurfacing and expanding the basketball courts and installing new goals and lights. The courts will be painted at the end of the month and bleachers will be put in this fall. The plan is to replace the older playground and move the swings closer to it in the next budget year. 

“This one right here, you guys can see we have plywood up here, we had to remove a slide...This (the playground) is something that we definitely have to replace next year,” Epple said. “I am looking for different grants. If there is a grant out there I will definitely apply for it.”

She said the department also wants to replace a couple of shelters, bleachers at the softball field, figure out better parking and improve the stormwater drainage. 

Housel Park will be one of the parks that “gets the most attention this fall,” according to Epple. Parks employees recently installed a new playground, resurfaced the basketball court, and took down a shelter. This fall they will be replacing the backstop, adding more product on the field, putting in a new dugout, and replacing the benches. 

Centennial Pool’s pool deck was repaired and the outside will be repainted this fall. At Centennial Park, the covered bridge was redone and the basketball court was resurfaced. Batting cages will be put in this fall. 

The four shelters near the parking lot will be replaced. The shelters will be higher and the picnic tables will be replaced with new ones made out of recycled milk cartons. 

“They’ll look nicer and you can’t carve into them or paint on them. They’re recycled, which I think is really important for parks and rec,” Epple said. 

Vermont Park had inclusive swings added last fall. More futsal courts may be added in the future. At Katy Park, the two concerns are the lack of parking and the need to replace the monkey bars and swings at some point. The department’s master plan includes adding a bathroom/concessions stand between the two baseball fields in five years. 

Clover Dell Park has had a playground installed and Epple said they hope to finish it by July 19. It includes an ADA complaint zipline and another “free” one, a saucer swing, inclusive swings, typical swings, baby swings, a spin, merry go round, balance beam, an ages 2 to 5 playground and an ages 5 to 12 playground. The company that did the playground plans to use the playground in their marketing material. 

“This is one of, what they think, is going to be one of the showcase playgrounds within a 60- to 90-mile radius,” Epple said. 

The department is also looking at ways to improve the grass on the soccer fields. The hope is to install sand volleyball courts in four years and eventually another bathroom. 

Liberty Stadium will be repainted in the first week of August and a new dugout will be put in this fall. The tennis courts need to be resurfaced and general repairs need to be made. A splash pad is also in the plans for Liberty Park sometime in the future. 

“Next year is going to be that year where we’re doing some maintenance to the parks. Not a lot of ‘wow,’” Epple said. “This year we’re doing some ‘wow’ with the playgrounds. Other than Hubbard Park which will be our once nice ‘wow’ where people can really tell you did something, added something new.”

The board approved the purchase of seven new shelters for the parks at $131,951 from Sourcewell. They had budgeted $175,000 for the project. They also gave a Seasonal/Part-Time Employee of the Month award to Olivia Kemp for June. 

Board members Les Wolpers, Rhiannon Foster and Kristy Woolery were absent. 

City Reporter

Emily Walton is the city reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering local government and various city departments.

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