Columbia Parks and Rec to discuss Lions-Stephens Park improvements

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COLUMBIA - A more than 25-year-old park shelter and playground could say goodbye soon.

The replacement of those two items, as well as a few new additions to Lions-Stephens Park, will be discussed at a public input meeting Tuesday.

"It's a drop-in meeting for us, which means that we don't give a real formal presentation," said Gabe Huffington, park services manager for Columbia Parks and Recreation. 

Huffington said the drop-in meeting will allow for members of the community to share their opinions on the proposed park plans. 

"We want people to just come out and talk to us individually and say this is what we like about the plan, this is what we don't like about the plan," he said.

Other changes to the park would include new park benches and water fountains.  

Robbie Acuff lives a few blocks away from the park. Before speaking with KOMU 8 News, he had not heard about the plans. However, he said the improvements could make a positive impact on the area. 

"I think that as much as I want to preserve everything, this has been here for a while and it could really be improved," Acuff said. "There are some really great families in this neighborhood who would probably use the pavilion more if it was a little nicer or in a more accessible place"

According to a city press release, the project is budgeted for $100,000, and will be funded by the 2015 voter-approved Park Sales Tax. 

Acuff said he supports the idea of spending tax dollars on parks.

"Everybody benefits from parks, even if you don't have kids, or you never go to the park," he said. "It’s better for everyone if we all pitch in for stuff for everyone."

Huffington said Columbia Parks and Rec staff want to get input from the public before they take the park plan to the parks commission Thursday. 

He said if members of the community don't have a chance to stop by, they can still review the plan on the city's website and submit a comment there as well.