Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department is considering two new projects for improvements to Douglass Park.
At a drop-in public meeting Wednesday, Parks and Recreation staff unveiled plans and got input from around 25 Columbia residents. The plans were chosen from six previous plans that were already proposed to the residents of the area. They include a skate park, more shelters and green spaces, and an outdoor amphitheater.
Mike Snyder is the superintendent of planning and development for Parks and Recreation. He said the main differences between the two options for Douglass Park concern parking, the shelters, and green space.
“The main difference is the location of the parking lots and the shelter locations," Snyder said. "One option is we try to create more green space by removing the existing parking lot and relocating it over to Fifth Street. The other option, the parking lot stays in its current location, and the area along Fifth Street, we convert that into green space.”
Mike Snyder said the city recently acquired the area along Fifth Street, which was previously a residential area.
John Kelly has lived in Columbia since he was born in 1942. He says the amphitheater might not be a good idea for the park.
“I don’t know that we need an amphitheater," Kelly said. "I would like to see some money, and I know it’s a lot of money to ask for, but to build maybe another gymnasium, so you could have performances within there. And it would be a year-round facility.”
Kelly also says how important it is for citizens to have good facilities in their cities.
“When you have an area that looks nice, I think it changes people’s behavior and perceptions of themselves,” Kelly said.
The department will present the final plan to the City Council in December and start the construction in 2014.