The Sedalia Park Board has decided on its next park project, and it’s a big one — spending almost $900,000 to completely revamp Vermont Park.
The board heard a presentation during its Feb. 4 meeting from Theron Broadfoot of Engineering Surveys & Services in Sedalia regarding two proposals for improvements at Vermont Park, located at the intersection of Missouri Avenue and 14th Street.
“The board really felt that rather than just keep it status quo — it’s been a rough park — we want to try to bring the park up. We could improve the neighborhood,” Parks and Recreation Director Mark Hewett told the Democrat after the March 3 meeting.
The board approved a $877,000 project, which includes off-street parking, a new shelter house and restroom, two t-ball fields, basketball court improvements, a new futsal court, which will replace the old tennis court, and new LED lighting in the parking areas and along a new walking trail.
“And then the kicker, we’re going to come in with a 1,600-foot walking trail,” Hewett said. “It will be all asphalt or concrete — if the price is close we’ll go with concrete — and it will be 10-foot wide, because there’s nowhere to walk, it’s dangerous. That whole area (of town) will be able to go to that and walk the whole perimeter of the park, roughly a third of a mile. It’ll be neat.
“… There will also be all new LED lighting on the parking lots and along the walking trail so people can go down there and feel safe. I really think it’s going to help property values, help bring people into the park and maybe get that bad element out.”
In addition to the new amenities, the large ditch through the middle of the park will be filled in and a pipe will run through it for drainage. One of the two proposals included covering about 60 percent of the ditch, while the approved option covers the entire area, Hewett said. The cost difference was $84,000, according to February meeting minutes. Hewett noted that the new t-ball fields would not be possible without covering the ditch.
The project will take place over two years, with construction hopefully beginning Aug. 1. $515,000 has been included in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the project, and the remaining amount will be completed in Fiscal Year 2018.
“(The project is funded through) the special projects money we have,” Hewett explained. “We allocate around the best we can and we try to do the most used parks and it’s Vermont’s turn. We’ll probably go to Hubbard and Housel after that. I went to the Park Board and said let’s not halfway do something, if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right. Let’s really improve it or throw in the towel. Personally I think we can really improve the park and the board agreed 100 percent.”
The board approved the preliminary budget Thursday, and will give final approval in April after the Sedalia City Council gives final approval of the entire city budget to make sure employee wages and benefits are correct.
The budget also included the third of four payments to the Sedalia School District 200 for the Jennie Jaynes Stadium property as well as $25,000 for community center planning fees. Hewett said he will give an update on the community center at next month’s meeting.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.