Columbia Parks and Rec waiting approval to start work on new park

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council will vote Monday night on whether to allow an engineering service to start surveying the Norma Sutherland Smith Park.

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department is requesting the city council allow Midwest Environmental Consultants to begin surveying, and pay the company up to $45,000 for the project.

The engineering company will provide services including surveying the site, designing calculations for storm water mitigation and construction documents for necessary permits.

The council approved the master plan and construction of phase 1 improvements for Norma Sutherland Smith Park on June 16. Part of the proposed plans include creating a series of wetland cells and a fishing lake.

Right now, the land is not developed and is just trees, untrimmed grass and deer.

One Columbia resident living in Tuscany Ridge, an area beside the park, said he does not agree to the idea of developing this land.

"I don't really think it's a good use of city money," Matt Makowski said. "There are plenty of parks around here to walk your dogs or hike. We have Finger Lakes Park just north of here...where you have big expanse of land to do whatever you want. You can go fishing, everything that they're proposing, you can do it there and you have a lot more room to work with."

Since his house faces the proposed park area, he said he's not a fan of the idea of having construction and people behind his house.

"I like being outdoors," he said. "The privacy of having the woods back there and if they were to build playgrounds...and all that other stuff, I would be opposed to that. A trail running through? I'd be okay with. I can hop on there with my dogs and take them for a walk. It's the major production and construction and everything I'm opposed to."

Another Columbia resident at Tuscany Ridge who did not want to be named said she's in full favor of the plan.

More public comments can be found here.

The park work is funded by the Park Sales Tax and included in the projected budget of $250,000 for phase 1 improvements.