The Kirksville Parks and Recreation Department is currently planning and working on updates and additions for many of its park areas.
Rodney Sadler, Kirksville parks and recreation director, said his department has been working on master plans that include proposed improvements for all the parks.
Sadler said a half-cent sales tax was passed in April 2017 to ensure park funding. He said many of his department’s projects had been backlogged, but now that the department has dedicated funding, they can begin to work on these projects.
The largest of these projects his department is undertaking is a major renovation of the Kirksville Aquatic Center, during which they will replace the pool, and add new amenities and office and meeting spaces.
Sadler also said existing parks are getting updates. This year North Park is receiving a new concession stand complex and restrooms. He also said some roofs on shelters are being replaced throughout the park system, and there will be additional restrooms, sidewalks, and playground equipment updates.
Sadler said the parks and recreation department is growing, and the department manages around 130 acres of property, which includes 10 park spaces.
All of the currently completed master plans for Kirksville parks are on the city’s website under the parks and recreation section.
City councilman Zac Burden said the master plans had not been updated for quite some time. Burden said it was great to look over these plans with the parks and recreation department and said better parks will come as a result. He said the recommendations from these plans are brought to the Kirksville City Council for approval, as well as the funding measures for the scheduled projects.
“I think it’s really important that we have a parks system that serves everyone in our community, that reflects the type of community that we want to be, and that is welcoming to new residents and new businesses,” Burden said.
Burden said he is grateful the Kirksville community passed the sales tax to improve the parks system, and he anticipates great things happening within Kirksville parks in the years to come.
Kirksville’s assistant city manager used to be in charge of the city’s parks, but after the passing of the park tax, current assistant city manager Ashley Young said the city was able to hire Sadler.
“Improvements to our parks system improves the overall neighborhood in which the parks are located and the city as a whole,” Young said.
He said the improvements taking place this year have been well publicized, and the city will continue to announce when improvements will be made.
Jessica Venvertloh is a freshman Staff Writer for Truman Media Network