CARTHAGE, Mo. — City Parks will soon see some big changes – an overhaul worth $5 million.
“It’s going to be restrooms, it’s going to be shelters, it’s going to be trails, and it’s going to be playgrounds” said Mark Peterson, Carthage Parks & Recreation Director.
Gretchen Bolander, KODE news: "Just the start of some sweeping changes to the Carthage Parks system."
“Those are the main things that are used on a daily basis in the park system and that really need to be the best,” Peterson added.
The McCune Brooks Regional Hospital Trust is giving the city $5 million. It’s a start to the Parks Master Plan list of potential improvements worth $26 million that touches all seven city parks.
“Kellogg Lake is a park that we want to keep in somewhat of a natural setting with the lake and the river environment out there. A lot of open space but two things that are needed for young families to enjoy the environment out there: restrooms and a playground.”
“Griggs park is a small park, but it's packed all the time: pickleball courts, basketball, community gardens, there’s so many amenities, and great needs in that space, better restrooms, shelters,” said Peterson.
Municipal Park already has a long list of amenities, something they hope to capitalize on.
“We hope to turn Municipal Park into more of a destination park. Right now, it’s a community park. As a destination park, and we may see a new Aquatic Center come to Municipal Park at some point in the next few years. We’re looking at a destination playground for Municipal Park, splashpad in conjunction with that, and just a lot of good things,” Peterson continued.
“Obviously trails have been discussed in the City of Carthage. So this is bigger and better concept kind of thing. Yeah, so trails can be as simple as just a walking trail in Central Park, or they can become more complex with mountain bikes and different surfaces. So there are a variety of different trails and we’re looking at acquiring some property as well. That would bring another component into the offering.”
The first projects are expected to get underway this fall. Others are farther out. But they all tie in to one central theme.
“We want our park system to enhance the community to where people want it to continue to live here. Visit here, we want those visitors. We have a large manufacturing base, we have some great employers in Carthage---when they’re hiring their employees, we want them to choose Carthage as a place to live. And our park system needs to be part of the equation for them to make that decision,” said Peterson.