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Memorial Park caretaker's home demolished

Memorial Park caretaker's home demolished

November 21st, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Andrew Bax operates a small trackhoe Monday to demolish the structure at 105 Memorial Park Drive. Bax was bringing down the old caretaker's house and concession stand that once stood near the entrance at Memorial Park.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has begun demolition of the old Memorial Park caretaker's house.

The property, built around the 1960s, originally was used by the Memorial Park caretaker.

Parks Department Assistant Director J.J. Gates said caretakers lived in and maintained the city parks until the caretaker system was replaced by a consolidated system in the 1980s.

The caretaker at Memorial Park, located at 111 Memorial Park Road, remained in the home and was the "eyes and ears of the parks after hours and on weekends," Gates said.

The building was used for storage and had been vacant for about eight years, he added. It was also considered unsafe and beyond repair.

"It just was at the end of its useful life, and it would have taken a lot more funding to get it back up into shape," Gates said. "Plus, to turn it into any kind of public-use space, we would have had to look at ADA issues and those kind of things, which would have been difficult."

Gates said the department went through the demolition permit process earlier this year and received the permit a couple of weeks ago. The department wanted to demolish the building in preparation for the new parks master plan, he added.

Gates said they kept utilities nearby in case they build something in place of the former caretaker home.

"We're just trying to be forward-thinking and keep those close by in case we need to hook into them if we need to," he said. "As that master plan progresses, we'll get a better idea of what could be there or in that general area."

Shannon Gordon, one of the leads on the master plan project, told the News Tribune earlier this month he plans to deliver a preliminary master plan in the next few months, with the final plan possibly presented before the end of the year.

Gates said Jefferson City still has several caretaker homes, including those at Riverside and Binder parks.