City Council Approves Douglass Park Phase One Improvements

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council approved the first phase of improvements for Douglass Park at its meeting Monday night.

This project includes the construction of an outdoor amphitheater and small shelter, parking improvements, additional walkways, signage and landscaping.

Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs said the plans will relocate the parking lot to create more green space.

A proposed skate spot drew a lot of discussion.

"We figured the more people showed up, the more likely we could get a new skate park," Columbia resident Will Araiza said. "That's our goal."

Araiza said these improvements are crucial for increased safety as well.

"My dad doesn't like me hanging out over there," Araiza said. "I think a lot of the reasons that people think it's unsafe is because it's not as nice and people don't want to go relax there because they don't feel safe. But if it were brand new, then a lot of people would go there."

Parks Service Manager Gabe Huffington said they've made the skate spot one of their priorities as well.

"We've worked pretty closely with our skateboard coalition and those guys and so they all came out, couple of them spoke very highly of their skate park they currently have, but then also to add another one," Huffington said. "They need some more facilities. Skateboarding is a popular sport in the community. We understand that, and so we wanted to add another skate facility for them."

Huffington said the skate spot would not be as large as the park at Cosmo Park. Griggs said a whole new skate park could cost up to $50,000, and the funding available for improvements at Douglass Park is $100,000 from a 2010 park sales tax ballot.