The Sedalia Park Board passed its budget Thursday evening during their monthly meeting at Katy Trail Community Health, 821 Westwood.

Parks & Rec Director Amy Epple said the budget will now be forwarded to Sedalia City Council for final approval.

“This is step one, and if Council approves it on April 2, that's step two and we move on from there,” she said.

“We do have a budget this year that gives us a little over $175,000 cushion. We're in the positive. So if other things come out, like if the (Liberty) pool ends up being a little more than what we expected, we do have a little bit of a cushion to do that. If not, our hope is to be able to put that in reserves. Because one thing we have in our master plan is a spray park, because it's going to be expensive. But we can put that money away, so in three years, that's extra money we would have. So that's one of our goals and vision, and we hope to get that going sooner rather than later,” Epple said after the meeting.

Epple announceed that Liberty Pool will be opening at 12 p.m., one hour earlier than it has in the past, she noted.

A dedication ceremony for the renovation of Vermont Park will be held in April or May, depending on the weather, Epple said.

Swing sets need to be installed, concrete needs to be poured, but the park is now open. “We want everything completed when we have that grand opening, so we're looking forward to that no later than May,” she said.

The Liberty Park Cement Pond (lagoon) is scheduled to be drained due to a leak issue. “It's going to take about two weeks to drain it. We're hoping to drain it enough by next Thursday to be able to get in and makes the repairs (to a valve),” Epple said. After two days of repairs, the lagoon will be refilled naturally with rain water. “We can't use City water because there's a little bit of chlorine in there, and that would kill any wildlife and create more problems. We'll hope for some rain, so we can get that filled up and hopefully by the end of April, it'll be ready to go again,” Epple noted.

Liberty Lagoon will be stocked with catfish at the end of April. Trout will get stocked in late fall. The project is in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Park Board also heard an informational presentation from Paul Klover Soccer Association (PKSA), represented by Judge Paul Beard, a PKSA board member, and Amanda Blackburn, PKSA board president.

Also during the meeting, the Park Board purchased a Dodge Ram 3500 from Bryant Motors. The one-ton truck will be used by the maintenance department and is equipped with a utility bed. The cost was about $31,405.

In addition to the truck, the Park Board purchased three lawn mowers from Sutherland's.

The mowers will replace the used ones that Parks & Rec typically leases every summer for $12,000.

One mower (Big Boy-104) costs $22,517.25 It has extra horsepower, allowing one man to mow a football or soccer field in 10 minutes, as opposed to two men mowing for 30 – 40 minutes.

The two other mowers cost $10,332.42 each. “That's a lot of money, but we spend a lot of time cutting grass and we have over 380 acres of grass that have to be cut so we need mowers that get the job done quickly,” Epple stated.

“We think within four years, we'll get them paid off. And they're under warranty. We're pretty confident that this is the best way to go,” Epple said.

Epple also noted that she attended the Missouri Parks & Rec conference recently at Tan-Tar-A and was presented with an Associate Fellow Award. Former Parks & Rec Director Mark Hewitt also received an award, as did Roscoe Righter, who served as Sedalia's very first Parks & Rec director.

Assistant Parks Superintendent Jeff Mazzella was recently recognized by Sedalia City Council for 25 years of service. And Parks employee Tom Broaddus is retiring March 31 after serving 20 years and eight months.

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