Snow Removal Plan in Place at Heckart Center
The Sedalia Park Board met Thursday night at the Heckart Community Center with four members present and one via cell phone.
The meeting was postponed by one week due to several members under the weather last week. Also, the November meeting was canceled, therefore the board approved the minutes from their Oct. 13 meeting and paid bills for October and November.
Board members attending the 30-minute meeting in person were Jerry Case, Sydni Herrick, Connie Washington and Dan VanDyne. Attending via smartphone was Jan Summers. Four members were absent. Parks & Rec Director Amy Epple helmed the meeting.
Epple gave an update on the Heckart Center, which has been open since March 18, about nine months.
Epple said she is ready for the first big snowfall that will require snow plows at the center. A plan is in place.
“You're removing the snow, but you have got to put it somewhere, too, so we have our locations, and you don't know how much snow you'll be getting, either. So we're ready for that. We are pretty sure that we'll be able to open like normal. But it depends on how much snow we get. So if we have to have a delay because we get a lot of snow, we will notify the public through news release, social media and our textcaster as well. But we always want to open the doors as scheduled,” Epple told KSIS.
She added that the procedure is to call her admins and maintenance crew at 3 a.m., and formulate a plan. The Heckart Center opens at 5 a.m.
At the same time, Epple noted that she doesn't want to encourage people to risk their lives by getting out on snow-covered streets if Sedalia Fire & Police suggests that people stay home and off the roads.
All but two picnic benches have been removed from the front entrance to the Heckart, to make it easier to remove the snow when the time comes.
The leisure pool will be closed for a time period of between 5 and 7 days in late January. “It's still leaking water and we want to get that done before the warranty runs on March 18,” Epple said, adding that it will be drained during that time and it will only be closed for one Saturday.
The competitive pool will remain open. Water aerobics classes will take place there, she noted.
A Smith-Cotton girls swim meet is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14.
The Heckart is always busy with activity, it seems like, and Epple noted that the three gyms at the center are always in use. There's three swim teams using the pool. Sports teams from Northwest and Sacred Heart are using the Heckart as a practice facility due to lack of space at the schools.
“There's a lot of things we weren't even thinking about or expecting, and to be honest, we're packed with three gyms, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but if it were possible, we could have used more gyms,” Epple said. “Sometimes you have say no,” she said, referring to scheduling and availability of the facility.
Epple is aware of a drainage issue at the 3rd street entrance, and a larger drain will be installed by Public Works in the spring. In the meantime, Park Project Manager Matt Harris has been doing his best to unclog the drain after a hard rain. Harris was hired in March of 2021.
Herrick noted during her presentation that all Heckart staff has been trained in CPR. Epple added that was one of her in-house goals for 2023 was to get all staff in the Parks Department certified in first-aid. “And we hit that goal.”
Interviews with prospects to replace Marketing and Special Events Supervisor Savannah Lynde have been ongoing, with two more scheduled for Monday. Lynde left her position recently to take a job in Warrensburg. “We've had some good candidates and I'm excited about that, Epple said. “We hope to offer someone the position next week.”
A total of 14 volleyball tournaments are coming to the Heckart through the “Heart of America” association for ages 12U to 17U in January, February and March.
Epple and Community Development Director John Simmons have been working together to submit a $1.5M matching grant application for Liberty Park Stadium, built in 1937 as a Public Works Administration project.
The pair are looking to pay for upgrades to the historic baseball stadium, and will know the results by Jan. 25. If approved, improvements will begin to be made at Liberty Park Stadium by next fall.
Acquatics hopes to hire 20 more staff members by next year. “For us to be fully staffed in the summer, we need 20 more lifeguards to be able to operate the indoor pool and the two outdoor pools. It takes a lot, but we're offering lifeguard classes free of charge to get (new) staff to come and work here for Parks & Rec.
“I've been director for five years, and when I came here, we did some improvements at Liberty Pool to be able keep it going, and at that time, they said if you do these improvements, you will have five to eight years. So we're at five years, so we know that we have three more summers, maybe, at Liberty. And at that time, we did nothing to Centennial. And they told us you'll get five, maybe seven years. Well, this summer will be the seventh summer. We'll open Centennial Pool this summer, and we're going to have to start reevaluating and looking at where we're at, because we're not going to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into Centennial Pool. So we're making plans, working with the City (John Simmons), looking at properties where we can build one large aquatics facility. So basically what you're doing is putting Liberty and Centennial together,” Epple said, adding that Warrensburg is a good example of a small aquatics facility.
Sedalia's new aquatics facility will be located on the east side of town, she noted, and will require soil sample testing and engineering before construction can begin.
Once Centennial closes, Liberty will be the only outdoor pool available until the new aquatics center opens. Once that happens, Liberty will also close permanently.