City Council approves Parks and Recreation Fund
COLUMBIA - The City Council approved the creation of fund for Columbia Parks and Recreation on Monday. It will help pay for programs and park upkeep.
"It’s another revenue tool we don’t have," said Columbia Parks and Recreation director Mike Griggs. "Prior to the fund all we relied on were our sales tax revenues, fees and charges and miscellaneous small dollar gifts and donations."
The department has been pinching pennies because of a decline in sales tax revenue spurred by increasing online sales. The establishment of the fund helps eliminate some of that stress, Griggs said.
"For the last ten years we’ve been operating less and less," he said. "There’s really no where else for us to go. So we really need this alternate source so we can continue with some of these things that citizens expect."
The fund is a partnership between city council and the Community Foundation of Central Missouri. To jump start it, the department received an anonymous donation of $25,000.
"We knew we wanted to start a foundation and we knew we needed a gift to help do it. So we were fortunate to have a local business contribute that money on the condition that they remain anonymous," Griggs said.
The chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Marin Blevins, said. "It’ll take time for it to built up but this is a great start."
Blevins said he and the other commission members want the money to go towards projects that the public prefers.
Griggs said the money will help with people who want to do estate planning and leave a legacy for the parks system.
Griggs said people should be able to donate to the fund via check, online donations or through the Community Foundation of Central Missouri by this summer.