parks tax citizens committee

The Parks Tax Citizens Committee met Wednesday to create a list of projects that could receive revenue from the proposed parks tax on the Aug. 3 ballot.

The Parks Tax Citizens Committee finished its project list Wednesday night. The list names close to 40 projects that could receive generated revenue from the proposed tax.

The process was a long one. Parks Director Chuck Kempf gave the committee a long list of park projects that needed funding. This list totaled more than $77 million. Over four meetings, the committee trimmed that down to a total of about $60 million.

This was a list created by the Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities Department of all the projects that could use funds from the proposed parks tax.

“This was a lot of money,” said Chris Clark, the committee chairman. There's a lot of need, there's a lot of passion in a lot of these projects. I'm extremely happy that we were able to come together and get the job done.”

The projects that would receive the most money are Krug Park at $12.775 million, which includes the amphitheater, the children’s circus and the castle, and the lap pool at the aquatic center for $7.7 million.

The top priority for the committee was to take care of what the parks department already has. This is why Krug Park was the first project chosen by the committee. It is also why more than $6 million was added to the list to address restrooms, lighting, sidewalks, shelters and playgrounds throughout the parks system.

“Walk through our parks, you can see the dilapidation and you can see that there's not enough resources or funds there to make that happen,” Clark said “So us, as the committee, saw that walking in day one, minute one, that we need to take care of what we've got.”

The committee also emphasized diversity, not only geographically but also in the types of projects. For example, the committee set aside $2.4 million for a park on the east of town. The project includes a playground and a dog park.

“I'm very happy with the final list,” Clark said. “I think we show a very wide cross section geographically in need across the entire city. A lot of people have a lot of passion and a lot of heart and a lot of emotion tied to a lot of these places.”

Many residents were concerned that the tax revenue could be used on civic facilities, such as Civic Arena. The committee was well aware of the residents’ apprehension and it was discussed at length during the meetings. However, the parks department listed Civic Arena as a top priority, so the committee added $1.2 million of structural repairs at the arena to the list. This includes the roof, floor and lighting.

The committee added another $1 million to the list for Civic Arena but with a caveat. Before those funds can be allocated, other funds have to be raised by public or private sourcing.

Although the committee unanimously approved this list of projects, it can still be changed. The committee will present the list to the St. Joseph City Council on Tuesday during a work session. City staff will recommend a priority order for the projects over the 10 years. But the council has the ultimate authority and can make any changes to the list or priorities.

Once the list is determined by the city council, the campaigning begins. The committee still has a lot of work ahead, as they have to educate and convince voters in a short time before the August 3 election.

“If you enjoy the park system and you would like to see it in a better place, I don't think there's a an option,” Clark said about voting for the parks tax.

Here is the current primary list of projects in monetary order (can still change):

Krug Park amphitheater, children’s circus and castle - $12,775,000

Aquatic Park lap pool - $7,700,000

Park maintenance, rolling stock and storage - $4,525,000

Bode Sports Complex (ice arena floor, roof and refrigeration and outdoor courts) - $3,078,000

East Side Park with playground and dog park - $2,400,000

Northside splash park and electrical service - $2,110,000

Park system ballfield lighting - $2,048,500

Park system restrooms - $1,660,000

Phil Welch (not scoreboard) - $1,585,000

Hyde Park pool house - $1,500,000

Fairview Golf Course ponds, bridges and sprinklers - $1,500,000

Civic Arena roof, floor and lighting - $1,200,000

Civic Arena fund (with matching caveat) - $1,000,000

Felix Street Square gazebo - $1,000,000

Park system sidewalks - $1,000,000

Remington Nature Center rafters, HVAC and floor - $896,000

Park system shelters - $845,000

Hyde Park baseball field - $750,000

Missouri Theater - $737,500

Playgrounds at Hyde Park and John Lucas Park - $500,000

College Hill Park retaining wall - $350,000

Rec Center parking - $250,000

Bartlett Park baseball field - $200,000

Joyce Ray Patterson kitchen and paint - $124,600

Corby Pond fishing docks - $100,000

Phil Welch scoreboard (with match from the Mustangs) - $65,000

Holiday Park and South Pole lights - $40,000

Remington Nature Center aquarium filter - $33,000

Disc golf course - $27,500

TOTAL - $50,000,100

Here is the current supplemental list of projects in monetary order. These projects will be completed if there is leftover revenue (can still change):

Bode Ice Arena renovations - $3,400,000

Hyde Park aquatics phase II - $2,700,000

Horace Mann HVAC and restrooms - $2,350,000

Hyde Park outdoor recreation corridor - $825,000

Northside Complex baseball field - $500,000

Bartlett Park youth baseball field - $360,000

Remington Nature Center restrooms - $330,000

Corby Grove pickleball courts - $300,000

Rec Center parking - $250,000

Patee Park fountain - $150,000

TOTAL - $11,165,000

Quinn Ritzdorf can be reached at

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