A new brand and new name for the new home. A new schedule of member fees. A new quartet of tennis courts. A new plan for bikers and walkers.
Even the chairs were new when the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department's Board of Commissioners convened Tuesday at the new Lincoln University and Parks Wellness Center — meeting for the first time in years in a non-basement venue with daylight streaming in from floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides.
The commissioners faced more than 20 items on their monthly agenda, and that list did not include a presentation of important future dates presented by Parks Director Todd Spalding.
Here's that lineup of key dates ahead for Parks commissioners, not to mention the public anxious to use the new Wellness Center:
Thursday, 6 a.m., front counter operations move permanently from the former Parks headquarters at the City Annex on Monroe Street to the Wellness Center.
Friday, tentative announcement of the Wellness Center's name and unveiling of its trademark brand, or logo, depending on the availability of Lincoln President Kevin Rome and other Lincoln officials. Spalding said he was hopeful the name and brand could be revealed to the public Friday, but he was remaining flexible based on the schedules of Lincoln dignitaries.
Saturday, an all-day regional basketball tournament hosted by Special Olympics Missouri for nearly 1,000 people — the official first big event for the Wellness Center.
March 24, official grand opening for the Wellness Center; details to be announced.
April 22, Lincoln's Gala, at which Rome will honor his counterparts from the Parks leadership.
The name and brand are known but to a few, although Spalding said the name will be catchy, the image will be cool and the color scheme will be compatible with the interior of the Wellness Center. "You'll love it," he said on a recent media tour.
The membership information was presented in a memo from Aaron Grefrath, the assistant director of Parks and the resident manager at the Wellness Center.
A veteran of both the State Technical College at Linn and the YMCA, Grefrath said benefits of membership include access to the fitness center, the basketball courts and elevated track; wellness and fitness classes; drop off times for child care while parents exercise; "and much more."
He volunteered that, as of Tuesday, he was interviewing and hiring staff for all part-time positions.
Noting membership rates will be evaluated and adjusted as needed on an annual basis, Grefrath announced these five levels of fees:
Community members will be able to use the facility's walking track, courts and fitness center at no cost through March 3. Friends of the Parks members will have free access to the walking track from 6-10 a.m. Monday through Friday, through May 20.
Commissioners adopted the fee schedule unanimously.
The same support was given to a memorandum of understanding and a contract between Lincoln and Parks for reconstruction of the tennis courts in Myrtle Smith Livingston Park. The park parallels Lafayette Street between Dunklin and Elm streets. Plans originally called for six courts, but space and monetary limitations reduced the number of courts to four. Spalding told his commissioners there just wasn't room in the park for two more courts but suggested space might be perfect for basketball courts, a dog park or skate park. Verslues Construction of Jefferson City was low bidder at $542,800, besting CGH Builders and Wavco Construction.
Lincoln's Jerome Offord Jr. and Sheila Gassner said Lincoln received a $75,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, $125,000 in matching funds from the Lincoln maintenance and plant fund, and $300,000 in partnership funds from Parks to fund the courts. Short $42,800, the partners are seeking a grant from the U.S. Tennis Association. Any shortage will be shared.