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story.lead_photo.caption Chase Dickerson, a computer science major at Missouri State University in his second year as a camp counselor, plays dodge ball with children Tuesday July 10, 2018, during Camp Out and About at the Ellis-Porter Riverside Park pavilion. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

With Community Park improvements in the works, the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission decided to move forward on improving two more parks.

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The commission decided Tuesday night to submit a request for qualification for improvements to McClung and Ellis-Porter Riverside parks.

During a special meeting last month, the commission listed McClung Park, at 930 McClung Park Drive, and Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, at 300 Ellis-Porter Drive, as its second and third priority projects.

The parks master plan calls for an 80-foot Capitol viewing tower, splash pad play area, upgraded playground and renovating the dance hall at the 45-acre McClung Park.

The estimated cost for all suggested changes and additions is $5 million-$7 million, the plan states.

For the 62-acre Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, the master plan recommends a new community amphitheater, destination play structure that is ADA accessible, community gardens, shelter improvements and aquatics venue.

The estimated cost for all suggested changes is $23 million-$35 million, according to the plan.

The commission plans to pursue $11 million in bonds to pay projects outlined in the parks master plan, which lays out improvements to the Jefferson City parks system over the next 10-20 years.

The parks master plan also lists Community Park, at 725 Marshall St., as the No. 1 priority.

Kansas City firm Warner Nease Bost Architects is currently designing improvements for Community Park and presented a change order Tuesday to change parking spot locations, as well as address issues at the property at 901 Marshall St., such as making the facility ADA compliant. The estimated price tag is $66,626.

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department purchased 901 Marshall St. from the Catholic Dioceses of Jefferson City for about $60,000, Parks Director Todd Spalding said.

While they understood the need to address these issues, commissioners said, they wanted to know more information regarding how the Parks department plans to use the building, holding off voting on the change order until next month's meeting.

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Spalding said the Parks department could use the building as event space.

Commissioner Bill Plank suggested looking at the house and park comprehensively.

"The park is a whole lot more than this house," Plank said. "I'm not against (the change order) by any means but I think it's part of a larger picture. Let's see how this house fits in with the park. Let's look at it with a comprehensive view but let's not fund something without fully contemplating the rest."

During the October special meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission approved directing WNB Architects to bid out improvements to Community Park. Commissioners may review the bids next month.

The master plan suggested several changes to the 3.5-acre park, including spray ground play features, a large pyramid climbing structure and climbing wall, side-by-side zipline racers, interactive play sculptures, toddlers' play mounds and climbing logs, and more parking spaces.

The estimated cost to do all of the recommended changes to Community Park is $2.5 million-$3 million, according to the master plan.

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