New Agriculture Park

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COLUMBIA – Columbia residents will have another park to play in soon. 

Build This Town, a Columbia campaign for a new agriculture park at Clary-Shy Community Park, exceeded their fundraising goal for April by more than $170,000.

The original goal was $300,000 in the month of April, but the campaign raised $471,000. 

Phase One of construction, due to begin in early June, will cost about $2.4 million. The first phase construction will most likely be complete by late fall.

“All the ground work for the site, utility upgrades, storm water, the concrete pad for the market building, the middle-third of the structure with the bathrooms there,” said Campaign Director Adam Saunders. “The plaza and the sidewalks as well as the sidewalls for the winter market.”

The park would grow food on site for local hunger relief, expand the Columbia Farmers Market to support more farmers, expand Sustainable Farms and Communities’ Access to Healthy Food Program and support new Parks and Recreation activities on the site. The park will also have a playground and soccer field.

“Next year looks like it will be our first year to grow vegetables,” said Saunders.

Saunders said another $3.5-4.5 million will be needed to finish the park. If the campaign reaches its funding goals, the park should be complete by the end of 2020.

The agriculture park is a public and private partnership. Columbia Parks and Recreation has put money into the project from parks sales tax. 

"Visitors will be able to visit the MU HealthCare Pavilion and not only be able to purchase locally grown product,  but also get a chance to see how it’s grown," said Parks and Recreation Director Mike Griggs. "It’s an excellent opportunity for Columbians to learn how to start preparing their own favorite food choices leading to healthier lifestyle choices. 

Saunders said over 73 percent of the funds raised are from individuals, businesses, family foundations and private granters.

According to the Build This Town website, the city would save approximately $4.4 million if spending on local food increased by 1 percent. 

To view a fly-over video of the proposed park, click here.

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