Park Board Discusses Light Up Liberty, Heckart Center
The Sedalia Park Board met for 18 minutes Thursday evening at Convention Hall with six members present.
It was a brief, but productive meeting, starting with an activity guide that was mailed out to residents living in the 65301 Zip Code.
“Probably for the last 10 or 12 years, I've been saying I want to do an activity guide. Just to get all the information out there to everybody, and it's something we did in Warrensburg. So staff knew we really wanted it, so we pulled the trigger and what better time than now? So we made it happen, and by we I mean my staff. It wasn't much work by me, other than giving suggestions,” recalled Parks & Rec Director Amy Epple.
The activity guide features not only the soon-to-be opened Heckart Community Center but general information and policy guides for the entire Sedalia Parks system, which includes seven parks over 300 acres. The guide is also available at City Hall, Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Sedalia Public Library to name a few locations, as well as online, Epple noted, at Sedaliaparks.com.
“This was an opportunity, and we'll do it twice a year, for us to be able to showcase everything that we have to offer in the Parks Department. We also want to educate the taxpayers on where their money goes, and show them how we spend it, and hopefully they see that we spend it wisely and we do a good job with the taxpayers' money,” Epple said after the meeting.
She added that the guide is educational as well as a great marketing tool. “I think it's really important that the public understand everything we do. And they'll see there's something for everybody,” Epple said. “And we hopefully we will get new staff that will come in, teach classes and share their talents with the community as well.”
“Light Up Liberty” is a fantastic Christmas light display which allows visitors to drive through Liberty Park with their headlights dimmed. It is the biggest, most colorful and spectacular display ever seen at Liberty Park.
The LED lights remain on 24/7. However, the park closes at 11 p.m. “Light Up Liberty” is part of Sedalia Parks & Rec 10-year plan, Epple noted.
Plans for next year call for eventually expanding the Christmas display down 3rd Street and Liberty Park Boulevard around the Heckart Center.
The electrical system will have to be substantially upgraded for all of that to happen, Epple said, due to the fact that some it was originally installed in 1932. “We'll be doing that in the next budget year,” she said. We have a good master plan in place of growing and expanding that. Staff's doing a great job with that, but it's a lot of work.”
Epple credited Tyson Foods with being a major sponsor for Light Up Liberty, donating $5,000 for the project and paying the electric bill.
Ordering for new displays takes place in March and April. They are custom manufactured, and delivered to Sedalia near the first of November.
Progress at the Heckart Center is right on target for the scheduled March 18 grand opening.
“We're working on getting fully staffed at the Heckart,” Epple told board members, adding that about 150 employees will be needed, many of them seasonal workers.
She noted that minimum wage will go up to $11:15 an hour on Jan. 1.
“I think this will be the jewel of the community,” Epple proclaimed. “A place that everybody can come together and a place that's for everyone. To me, it's really important to improve the quality of life and making our community stronger when we're all closer and we know each other.”
Parks & Rec began accepting memberships Dec. 1. “We have about three more full-time positions that we're advertising that we hope to have filled by Jan. 15,” she said. “We want to get them and the all part-time employees in the building by Feb. 1 to get them all trained. There's a lot to learn.”
The Sedalia Park Board will meet again Jan. 13. The public is invited to attend.