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story.lead_photo.caption A sign greets visitors to Jefferson City's Community Neighborhood Park. Photo by Mark Wilson / News Tribune.

Improvements to Community Park took another leap forward Tuesday after the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission approved a construction contract.

The Parks commission unanimously awarded Jefferson City-based Sircal Contracting with a more than $1.46 million construction contract for Community Park, at 725 Marshall St. The improvements include a sprayground, playground equipment and structures, retaining walls, stormwater and sanitary sewer systems, installation of furnishings, paving and surfacing, among other items.

"It's been a long time coming," Assistant Parks Director JJ Gates said.

The commission and Jefferson City Council approved a $1.6 million supplemental appropriation within the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department's fund balance in February. The amount covers the cost of tables, benches, turf, sculptures, shelters, lighting, signage, landscaping, trees, playground and sprayground equipment, and a restroom.

The Parks commission listed Community Park as its first priority from the parks master plan — a 20-year plan that outlines improvements to the parks system.

McClung and Ellis-Porter Riverside parks are the commission's second and third priorities.

The commission authorized The Architects Alliance on Tuesday to move forward with construction documents for McClung and Ellis-Porter Riverside parks after The Architects Alliance presented several preliminary design documents for both parks.

Current scope improvements at Ellis-Porter Riverside Park, at 300 Ellis-Porter Drive, include a new 5,000-seat community amphitheater, more parking and upgraded ballfields, among other improvements. Commissioners suggested Tuesday adding more bathrooms near the amphitheater.

The amphitheater would have a base bid of about $1.8 million, while renovations to the ballfields would cost about $300,000, The Architects Alliance representatives said. General site improvements would cost an estimated $250,000, they added.

Commissioners are interested in renovating the caretaker's residence and adding a community garden, but The Architects Alliance Principal Architect Cary Gampher said they were currently suggesting it be a future project as it would be too expensive.

Parks Director Todd Spalding previously said the commission has about $3 million set aside for renovations to Ellis-Porter Park and $1.3 million to McClung Park.

Current scope improvements at McClung Park, at 930 McClung Park Drive, include indoor and outdoor pavilion renovations, indoor pavilion window replacement and metal roofs for both pavilions, among other improvements.

The base scope for improvements to the interior pavilion is estimated at $383,000 while improvements to the play area are estimated at $204,600, The Architects Alliance representatives said. General site improvements may cost an estimated $235,700, they added.

"It's nice to see all the ideas we have talked about over the years come together," commissioner Lindsey Rowden said.

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