The Sedalia Park Board conducted its July meeting Thursday at the Heckart Community Center, and welcomed one new member.

Sydni Herrick has agreed to serve three years on the board and July 14 was her first meeting.

“I'm really excited. My dad (Kyle Herrick) has been a part of the Sedalia community for a very long time, and so I'm excited to carry that gauntlet and be involved in the community. I have a three-year-old son and I see a lot of parks, a lot of them, and all of the things we could do better, or improve, as well as just the community all around, and offer to single moms, and kids and all that great stuff. So I'm excited to be a part of that,” Herrick told KSIS after the meeting.

The Sedalia native and Sacred Heart High School graduate said she visits the Heckart at least once a week.

Herrick was asked if she has any plans or agenda during her tenure on the Park Board.

“I would like to see more activities in the recreation department. I do a lot of races and stuff like that,” Herrick said, explaining that she participates in 5K runs and mini-triathlons. “I'd like to bring a sprint triathlon to the Heckart Community Center, that's my vision. I would like to do an indoor one in the winter months, because when I was looking for them, (I noticed that there was a lack of those types of events), so I thought 'this would be great, that would bring a lot of business here,'” Herrick said.

The Park Board got down to business right off the bat, talking about the recent copper wiring theft from the HVAC system just outside Convention Hall. The units are enclosed with chain link fencing, but that did not deter the copper thieves.

Vandalism also occurred at Vermont and Katy Parks.

“Unfortunately, it happens,” Epple said, “and staff just does the best they can to clean it up. The one big thing I'd like to say is though, you know, if you see something, call the police department and let us know, even if it's something small. If we can slap their hands right and get them to stop doing it, I always believe in second chances. But we need to talk to them and make them understand that these are your parks, they're not our parks, and it costs us money."

Epple estimated the copper thieves made off with less than $100 of copper wiring, but caused about $1,000 worth of damage as a result.

The Heckart's leisure pool will be shut down for a period of time July 24 for an inspection to check the surge tank and make sure it's not leaking water. If it is, the seal repair could take up to three days. If it's not, the shut down may only last a couple of hours, Epple explained. She noted that the test is part of the warranty.

“Hopefully, they can get it taken care of quickly, and it won't be three days,” she said.

Additional parking will soon be created north of the Heckart just of Liberty Park Boulevard. Also, there's so much landscaping work around the Heckart that some of it will be converted to grassy areas. Plants will be pulled up and transplanted to other parts of the City, Epple said, so they don't go to waste.

More sidewalks will be installed as well as patio furniture and fire pits will be coming to the south side of meeting Room C, she noted.

A youth swim meet was held recently at the Heckart. The event went smoothly, Epple said, but parking was at a premium.

Parks & Rec's activity guide for the fall and winter is going to press, and is expected to be delivered to Sedalia mailboxes the second week of August.

Parks & Rec is purchasing a John Deere 72-inch mower through Sourcewell for about $15,000 (valued at over $21,000).

Board member Roy Pointer noted that the maintenance department is short on mowers and it's hard to get parts for the mowers they do have.

Epple noted that the bid process sometimes takes 2 to 3 months before delivery, and it costs to advertise the request for bids. So Parks & Rec contacted John Deere to see if they had what they wanted in stock. Turns out they did, and got the purchase approved.

“But we're doing a lot of bids lately and we're not getting any bids back. So we're spending a lot of money to advertise, and then we get nothing,” Epple said. “So now we know they have it in stock, and Monday we can go pick it up.”

By contrast, Parks & Rec bought a truck through a bid in September. “It's now July and we still don't have it,” Epple told KSIS.

No bids were received for a new roof over Shelter #3 at Liberty Park.

Repairs to the Liberty Park bridge are ongoing and the next part involves the steps, which will be a darker gray than the sides, so it doesn't show the dirt from the foot traffic as much.

Also a broken concrete slab will be replaced as well, Epple said, in addition to removal of a tree stump, “so we're excited about that.”

Visitors to Clover Dell Park may now kayak if they so choose. “We've cleaned it up quite a bit out there, so there's an easy access point out there,” Epple said about the lake.

Outdoor pools will continue to be closed every Sunday, alternating between Liberty and Centennial, due to the shortage of lifeguards.

“We continue to offer lifeguard classes. We have to pay the Red Cross for those certifcations, so it's not like it's free to us,” Epple said, adding that the fee training is $150, which is reimbursable if they come to work for Sedalia Parks & Rec.

Centennial Pool will close the night before the start of the State Fair, and Doggie Days will be held that Wednesday night.

A non-slip sandy material will be added to the new Splash Pad at Hubbard Park soon, Epple said during the meeting.

Park Board member Dan VanDyne noted that the financials for Parks & Rec are in good shape and that tax revenues are holding steady.

Park Board members have a little homework to do concerning three drafts that are proposed. One is a Liberty and Clover Dell Park CAP (Conservation Assistant Program) Agreement, an outside organization policy update, and adoption of updated by-laws. Epple will welcome feedback from the board at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 10, one day before the start of the 2022 Missouri State Fair.

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