South Columbia to get a new 60-acre public park

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission plans to develop a newly purchased 60-acre piece of property in southern Columbia off of Route K. 

Parks and Rec bought the land from local land developer Mike Thompkins, who is currently developing 'The Gates' subdivision nearby. 

The Parks and Rec Commission purchased the land as part of their mission to put a public park, trail or recreational facility within half a mile of every Columbia home. 

Giving Columbia residents easier access to public parks has been a goal of the parks and recreation department since 2003. 

Parks Services Manager Gabe Huffington said, "There are a lot of residential communities popping up around this property and so we looked at it as a possible area we can preserve as a nature area."

The 60-acre block of land was valued by the Holman Valution Group at $1.4 million dollars but was sold to the city for $360,000. 

Columbia resident Alan Helland said he's been using public parks in town since 1973. 

Helland said, "I've coached several sports and raised kids and grandkids here."

The park will remain predominately just green space, but Huffington said they hope to develop a parking lot, a small play ground, benches, covered picnic tables and maybe even a basketball court.