LIBERTY — To fulfill the promises made to Liberty voters who approved the April 2018 use tax by 70 percent, City Park, which is located at the intersection of Moss Avenue and Missouri Highway 291, will receive $2 million for major improvements. Work includes adding inclusive play structures.

Along with City Park, the 10 neighborhood parks are receiving amenities as well as the construction of the new animal shelter.

Discussion on improving City Park began in 2015.

“These plans have not been visible or tangible,” said Parks Director BJ Staab, “but we have had a working group since July 2018, which formed just a couple months after the election.”

Two members from Vireo have been working on the project for several years as well. Owner Steven Rhoades is a landscape architect and director of business development. Larry Reynolds, landscape designer, spoke to the council earlier this month.

Initially Vireo was brought on to look at rejuvenating three parks – City, Ruth Moore and Bennett – while further developing a master parks plan.

“In connecting to the master plan, the community asked to see a destination park, an improved splash pad,” Reynolds said. “The expectations are to see a park for all ages. In making improvements, we are looking at altering the entry and parking. The edge treatment and entry will be a reflection of park’s past, which included horses and horse shows. That’s why we propose the split-rail fence.”

According to statistics, about 12 percent of the population lives with some sort of disability, Rhoades said.

“While families may live with these challenges,” he said, “they also want to spend the day at the park. The questions are then raised as to whether people can get there, use the park, or have kids or adults of all abilities play side by side.”

Specific play structures include three types of spinners. There are two inclusive spinners where children can roll into the spinner or another where kids can sit on it and hold on. The third is a climbing and spinning piece.

As for slides, there will be slides that children in wheelchairs or walkers can get on with another having a roller. The third is a large hill slide where parents and kids can ride side by side.

The park will include several swings including traditional swings as well as ones designed for those who need additional support. Other amenities are climbers and play areas aimed at different age groups. There will be defined area for children 2 to 5 years of age.

While some children, Rhoades explained, deal with physical challenges which are clearly seen, others have sensory challenges. Those play structures will be added as well.

Staab said restrooms will be given attention.

“There’s going to be an adult changing station, too,” he explained.

According to Vireo, bidding, demolition and construction will be handled this the fall.

“It’s going to be a different park,” Staab said. “The maintenance building will move near the cemetery.”

Mayor Lyndell Brenton said the improvements to the Liberty Community Center, the 10 neighborhood parks and now City Park will be a big shot in the arm.

“It’s also a chance to thank the voters again,” he said.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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