Community Responds to Douglass Park Proposals

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COLUMBIA - Douglass Park may see new improvements in the coming months, but not everyone is thrilled with Columbia Parks and Recreation's proposal.

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Columbia Parks and Rec presented two proposals to the community Thursday night for how it plans to spend the $100,000 dollar budget.

Both plans include an amphitheater, new bike racks and a new sidewalk and handball courts. They would also expand the existing playgrounds and one proposal would remove the current parking lot.

"The reasoning for the parking lot removal in Proposal A is to increase the open space of the park," said senior planner Matt Boehner. "Moving the parking to the edge actually opens up the park for more pedestrian activity."

Rob Alongi owns property near the park and said he doesn't think enough people use the park for the number of homes in the area. "Three sides of the park do not use the park," said Alongi. "Most of the people on three sides of this park do not walk across the street to use the park. It's too bad."

However, Thomas Carter remembers going to the park when he was a child and still continues to go to Douglass. Carter thinks Columbia Parks and Rec needs to spend the money elsewhere.

"The money that they are going to invest in the skating rink or whatever it is the amphitheater, let's invest it in the kids into a school of the arts," said Carter, "so that we can tap into their talents and find out what is really inside of them."

Carter also thinks a "school of the arts" would help children in the community grow up with positive role models.

"We need to reach out and stop being so afraid of the people that we feel are causing the problems," said Carter. "We need to go down to the problems and see what we can do to help with that problem."

Parks and Rec will continue to take comments and suggestions for a couple weeks.

Boehner says he hopes to take one of the two plans to city council by December 2.