The public is invited to attend a ground-breaking ceremony for the Heckart Community Center on the former site of Jennie Jaynes Stadium on North Highway 65 in Sedalia at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, June 11.

Sedalia Parks & Recreation Director Amy Epple told KSIS how much work went into reaching this milestone.

“I'm very excited to be at this point, it's been very time consuming, lots of work with so much detail, but that's what must be done so Sedalia gets the facility they need and deserve,” Epple said on Wednesday. “I have no doubt that the Heckart Community Center will be a huge positive impact for the whole community. A place everyone can call their (own), for gatherings, health and wellness, sporting events, art shows, etc."

Paric Construction, St. Louis, was chosen as the general contractor for the community center with a bid of $13.78 million on May 14.

The original estimate on the project was around $15 million, it was noted at last month's Parks & Eec meeting.

Epple told KSIS on May 14 that she estimates the community center should be fully operational by February of 2022. March 8 would be a year later than Heckart originally wanted it to open, Epple noted.

“We'll get it open and get it done right. This (became) a much larger facility. The pool doubled in size. We went from a 68,000-square-foot facility to a 92,000-square-foot facility,” Epple said. The Heckart Community Center will be located on the former site of Jennie Jaynes Stadium on South Limit in Sedalia.

Sedalia voters overwhelmingly said "Yes-Yes" to the proposed Heckart Community Center on Aug 6.

Two questions were on the ballot in a special election, and a yes vote for each meant approval for a 78,000-square-foot facility to be built. Voter turnout was 24.2 percent, according to Pettis County Election Authority Nick La Strada. Votes were counted from a total of five precincts.

Results from the election showed that Question One received 2,341 yes votes, or 79.54 percent, and 602 no votes, or 20.46 percent. Question Two received 2,396 yes votes, or 81.17 percent, and 556 no votes, or 18.83 percent. A total of 2,956 votes were cast, out of a possible 12,192 registered voters.

The next step after selecting a contractor is an official ground-breaking ceremony.

“Ground-breaking of the Heckart Community Center happens to be on Sue Heckart's 81st birthday, which is very special,” Epple said. “Without her family gift, I really don't see how we could be here today getting ready to break ground. What a great day to start a dream her parents had for the community.”

Epple went onto comment that “again, I can't say it enough, the Heckart Community Center is happening all because a community came together and are making it happen ... we couldn't do this without the support of Sue, the Yes-Yes Committee, the Park Board, City Council and most certainly the Support of the Community.”

Epples concluded her remarks by looking forward to the grand opening. “June 11th will be a historic moment, for I truly believe the quality of life of our citizens will be felt and I look forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Heckart Community Center on March 18, 2022.”

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