What's next for Cape Girardeau Parks and Stormwater initiative after voter approval

What's next for Cape Girardeau Parks and Stormwater initiative after voter approval
The grandstand at Arena Park is one of many areas to be improved upon. (Source: Mike Mohundro KFVS)
The grandstand at Arena Park is one of many areas to be improved upon. (Source: Mike Mohundro KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Parks, Recreation and Stormwater Tax Renewal initiative was approved on Tuesday after 2,226 voters said yes as opposed to the 518 no votes.

"It's incredibly exciting to have this type of support. 81 percent vote!" Julia Jones, Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Director said with excitement.

"That's a tremendous boost for us," Assistant Public Works Director Stanley Polivick said. "It's great encouragement that we're doing things that the community values. We're doing things from a technical perspective that we think are important."

A number of park projects and stormwater projects will be improved upon under this renewal.

On the Parks side, Arena Park, Capaha Park, Cape Splash, Jaycee Municipal Golf Course, an aquatic facility, Shawnee Park, Trail improvements and other park improvements.

On the stormwater side of projects, improvements are planned for the watershed at Capaha Park, the watershed at the Arena Park Creek, Good Hope Watershed, Cape Girardeau Airport watershed, Lisa Branch and more.

Jones said they feel they have proven that the parks and stormwater investment has proven it was worth it for the community.

"We've been able to gain a lot of fabulous new facilities, renovations to our existing facilities and our stormwater infrastructure," Jones said.

Next on the agenda is to plan how and when the next projects are going to be and where they will take place.

The approved initiative will start gaining funds on Jan. 1, 2019.

"We will be bonding some projects but we will also be cash flowing projects," Jones explained. "Since the tax is a 15-year tax we will be waiting for collections to come in and doing more as a pay as you go. That will determine what projects can get done when based on the cost of what each of those projects are."

On the stormwater side, they are mostly addressing flooding in streets and yards.

"We still have quite a number of locations where there is significant backyard flooding," Polivick explained. "In some cases, in big rain events, it's getting close to the homes or the structures."

Polivick doesn't know which project will be planned first but has a few he considers priorities.

"I think the Good Hope Street project is one of the more important ones to get done," Polivick said. "The Arena Park project is a big one that I think would be done and there's a box culvert that we're proposing to upgrade on Hopper Road by Kingshighway."

Back to the Parks and Recreation side, a couple of projects are on the minds of many as to when they will happen and what additions there will be.

For the new recreational swimming facility, that location has yet to be decided. However, Jones said it won't be where the current Central Municipal Pool is.

"The Central Municipal Pool is actually not a large enough area now. We've assessed that before we started the tax initiative," Jones said. "We are hoping to find a new location. There have been several locations identified so part of the planning and design process will include what location that we'll select."

Jones did say it will not be another "bubble" type structure facility. It will be a closed in facility indoors throughout the year.

For Cape Splash, that will be an addition that many are excited about.

"Cape Splash is so popular," Jones added. "We typically run out of space on our hot summer days. We've recognized that more shallow water is what we need. So in phase three, we already have the conceptual design of a rock-grotto area called Splash Reef. So we can shallow water and people will be able to book parties there as well. We'll add more concessions and restroom facilities."

As the first part of the Stormwater and Parks initiative, which was approved in 2008, wraps up, Jones and Polivick said they have just a couple projects left before they start on the next phase.

For Parks and Recreation, they are finishing up improvements at Capaha Park with finishing up on restrooms and a Splash Pad. At Arena Park, they are finishing up two restroom projects and a playground.

"We received approval for the contract for our skatepark which will be partially funded through PRS installers and that will also go into Arena Park on the opposite side of East Rodney and we will hopefully kick off that project in the next month."

The last phase one project for Public Works with the stormwater side is an area of drainage near Alma Schrader.

Jones wanted to thank the supporters and the community for voting yes for this initiative and keeping Cape Girardeau a growing place to be.

"We want Cape to always be the best," Jones added. "We want to attract more businesses and keep our economy strong. I think that residents see that Parks and Recreation and stormwater infrastructure improvements are a great way to do that. It's proven to be true over the last ten years so we are looking forward to another 15.

For more information about each project, click here.

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