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Parks Department, Master Gardeners discuss next steps after flooding

Parks Department, Master Gardeners discuss next steps after flooding

August 14th, 2019 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

The sign that designates the area as Central Missouri Master Gardeners Demonstration Gardens now lies on the ground after recent flooding damaged the area. The organization plans to repair the greenhouses and gardens as conversations are ongoing about potentially relocated to a different park.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

After recent flooding in North Jefferson City, the Central Missouri Master Gardeners are cleaning up and talking with the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department about moving the river city gardens to a different park.

The Master Gardeners' river city gardens and greenhouses were damaged by the recent flooding in North Jefferson Recreation Area, said Diane Spieker, chairperson of the Central Missouri Master Gardeners board.

The organization plans to repair the greenhouses and gardens this fall and "get ready for our next growing season," Spieker said.

"The gardens were most impacted and of course the water went through the greenhouses, but we were all prepared for that in advance, so we shouldn't have too much work to get that ready for January when we start growing all over again," she said.

The Master Gardeners and Parks Department have discussed moving the gardens, but those discussions are preliminary, Spieker and Parks Director Todd Spalding said. One possible location is Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, Spalding and Assistant Parks Director JJ Gates added.

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"I've been here 3 1/2 years, and we've had a couple of floods already," Spalding said. "The area that gets above the levee over there in North Jeff, that is, what I'm told, supposed to happen every 500 years, and it's happening every few years.

"So, my question to them and what we're working through is, 'OK, there's another space where we don't have to worry about this. Is it time for us to look at another space that can be more permanent and be a little more away from (flooding)?'"

Spalding said he planned to meet with the Master Gardeners on Tuesday evening and discuss options further.

The department is considering a possible botanical garden and arboretum at Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, Gates said, adding those discussions are also in the preliminary planning stage.

The River City Fall Festival, originally scheduled for October, was canceled, according to the Master Gardeners' Facebook page.

Parks staff is also currently moving some items in the North Jefferson Recreation Area after a FEMA audit found those items violated the deed restrictions, Spalding said.

Following flooding in 1993, areas in North Jefferson Recreation Area that were part of the flood buyout program were deeded as green space, Jefferson City Floodplain Administrator Don Fontana previously said.

The department is moving some sheds, hard surfaces underneath the shelters, fencing and raised flower beds. While some hard surfaces will be ground up and reused elsewhere, Spalding said, the department will relocate other items next to the greenhouses since that area is not deed restricted.