Renovated city parks ready to enjoy over summer months

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Cassvillle students play basketball on the new courts at the City Park on Thursday, after school was out for the summer. The city recently finished a comprehensive project to renovate all of the courts in the park, along with a renovation project of the pool in the Aquatic Center. Julia Kilmer

Courts, pool reflect like-new condition of parks

If there is ever a season to get out and enjoy the sunshine and one's surroundings, summer is it, and Cassville residents now have two newly-renovated parks in which to play.

The renovated tennis courts, basketball courts and pickleball courts, which were recently completed and now available for public use at the Cassville City Park off Highway 248, are now open, said Steve Walensky, public works director for the city.

Two tennis players enjoy playing on the city's newly-renovated tennis courts in the City Park off Highway 248. The city put more than $64,000 into renovating the tennis and basketball courts, and replaced shuffleboard with a pickleball court. Julia Kilmer

The city paid $64,175 to resurface, prepare and paint the courts.

"It really looks like a park now," Walensky said. "We're hoping that with the new look and improvements, the park will garner more usage. Tennis is a very popular sport. We're really hoping more people will come and use the courts now. They were in pretty rough shape. We've painted, added new nets, posts and bleachers. Another thing we did was replace the shuffle board with two new pickleball courts."

The Greenway Trail, which connects the city park and the Aquatic Park, has had some work, and a new, improved footbridge, which had been destroyed by flooding, was built, with safety and buffer rails and a wider, more level walking surface, for walkers and joggers.

The ballfields and bleachers have also been renovated since the last flooding in December, and picnic tables, horseshoe pits and playground equipment are available to enjoy.

"Basically, we've restoring [the areas] to pre-flood conditions," Walensky said. "We acquired a three-point tiller and now are able to go into the infield and lightly till that and it assists in draining and leveling and makes playing on the softball and baseball fields better. Just having had a turf management program for the last three years has made a big difference."

Walensky said the turf program included seeding the grass, fertilizing and weed control.

"It improves the grass itself," he said.

The Cassville Aquatic Park opens Saturday, and after a complete renovation, offers a summer of fun. The pool had its two slides resurfaced and new gel-coat added, a paint job, and cracks repaired. The pool will offer open swims, lap swims, water aerobics and swim lessons.

The Cassville YMCA manages pool operations for the city, and uses the city park for YMCA-sponsored sporting events. Dove Haney, Cassville YMCA center executive, praised the city for the improvements to the pool.

"The pool is going to be really nice," she said.

Originally built in 2001, the pool, which cost $2.6 million, had not had routine maintenance performed in the 15 years since because funds were not available, Walensky said. But after it was recently paid off, the city was able to put funds toward improvements. The city paid a total of $117,152 to renovate the pool, which will be open for the community to jump in and enjoy within the month.

The city also added another volleyball net on the grounds and is planting zoysia grass, which not only feels like walking on carpet, Walensky said, but has a practical purpose, too, in that it chokes out weeds like clover and chickweed.

"We started that last year," he said. "When you walk on it, it feels like a cushion."

The new, popular game of Disc Golf is also in the works.

"We haven't started that yet, but it will be behind the Aquatic Center. It's more like a golf course."

According to Walensky, to play, players can pick up a kit at city hall that includes a net and the equipment.

"The nets are portable," he said. "We offer that totally turnkey. You don't have to make any investment to play."

The equipment can be borrowed overnight for a fee of $25. People may call the city at 417-847-4441 for more information.

Walensky said the city is always open to input from residents as to what they'd like to see done in the parks system in the future.

"Now what we're doing is looking for continued improvements for our 2017 capitol improvement program, and we're always interested in ideas on how to make our park better," he said. "A lot of input we get from our citizens fuel the ideas for improvements."

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