Jefferson City to adopt budget bringing major upgrades to city parks

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Council is expected to adopt the budget for 2019 Monday. If adopted, the budget would give $1,806,370 to the parks department to implement the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Master Plan.

The plan lays out comprehensive upgrades to parks across the city. These upgrades include water features, improved or new sports facilities, and remodeling park equipment. The parks department announced the plan in March and it's the first one like it in over 50 years. 

The number one concern to the department is updating Community Park located on Marshall St.

The master plan includes improvements to the park like adding public restrooms, shelters, a variety of playground equipment, and security lighting among other features. 

The master plan cites “property value” and “community pride” as reasons for the upgrades at Community Park. One community member, Clarence Mack, said he is not happy with the proposed improvements.

“This is what gentrification looks like,” Mack said.

Mack has been living in Jefferson City near Community Park for nearly 60 years. But, not everyone is against the possible improvements. 

“It’s really important to have the parks for the kids, especially if they live in an apartment and don’t have a yard where they can get out and run off, spend energy, and enjoy themselves,” Jefferson City resident Mark Dunbar said.

Dunbar frequently takes his grandkids to the park and is excited about the new sports facilities because he says his grandkids love sports.

“Anything with a ball. They enjoy soccer and baseball and fishing,” Dunbar said.

Adopting the budget is one of the first items on the city council’s agenda for Monday night. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at city hall.