Norma Sutherland Smith Park seeks public voices on next development

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Parks and Recreation hosted a public hearing meeting Thursday evening about the development of Columbia Norma Sutherland Smith Park. 

With the first phase of development of Norma Sutherland Smith Park nearly finished, the meeting offered the chance for the public to provide input on the second phase of development. 

According to Columbia Parks and Recreation, the park was donated by the city a few years ago, and the funding was from the 2010 Park Sales Tax. The construction of the first phase started about a year and a half ago. 

Matt Boehner, the senior park planner with Columbia Parks and Recreation, said the second phase would include moving some wetland ponds to create a fishing pond, relocating the playground and changing a basketball court from half-court to full-court; also, it will include a baseball field and lake trail. 

"The fishing pond is a new addition to the plan, that I think it's gonna be well-received by the public," Boehner said.

Boehner said there are not so many neighborhood parks in Columbia right now. 

"So it kind of fills that need for access to a lot. Park's connectivity between some residential areas in the neighborhoods and school, and just taking a great piece of property and bringing it into a park," Boehner said. 

The second phase of construction is expected to be finished by 2017.