By Gregg Jones

Union Missourian Editor

City leaders Monday approved changes to the east park grading contract that will allow for control of rainwater runoff.

Russell Rost, city administrator, said there will be a connection made from two ponds at the future Veterans Memorial Park to a draining facility.

“Originally the ponds were to be separate, with no connection,” Rost said. “The way watershed runs through there, engineers believed that a connection between ponds would be a more secure source of water for both ponds.”

The change is an increase of $1,251 in cost for the grading contract. The grading work is being conducted by Karrenbrock Excavating, New Melle, which bid $486,278.78. The project was estimated to cost $575,000.

The drainage facility also will benefit neighboring landowners, Rost noted.

“When constructed, it will help direct the water away from the edge of property, which would keep it off of the neighbors’ property as well,” he said.

Rost explained that the two ponds will be rebuilt at the same location, however, the bottoms will be dredged out and there will be new liners.

“This will allow us to do additional things between the two ponds to enhance the wetland aspect of the park,” he said.

The ponds will be used for fishing, and will be part of the “passive” park, that is designed to be a more “natural” in contrast to the surrounding sports fields.

Park Work

Phase 1 of the park project will consist of excavation and mass grading for two soccer fields, one football field, five baseball/softball fields, two ponds and various support infrastructure.

When completed the park will be a full-service facility with concession stands, bleachers, restrooms, and other amenities, which will support sporting events, including walking trails, playgrounds, wetlands and other passive park features.

There is about 100,000 cubic yards of earthwork, and the grading plan includes 24-foot-wide roads. Seeding is expected to be completed in early October.

SWT Design of St. Louis provided the original conceptual plan and master planning for this project. Cochran of Union is providing civil engineering, inspection/testing and construction administrative services.

Park Design

The park was planned to meet the growing needs of youth sports leagues in the Union area.

In the plans are marshlands and water sources to be utilized as a conservation area, or passive park, as well as picnic areas and shelters.

There also are playgrounds, a maintenance shed, lakes or ponds, pavilions and other amenities, including a “loop trail” intertwined with smaller trails.

SWT Design utilized requests and demographics to determine the city’s parks needs that could be met at the east park location.

Elected city officials, city staff, members of the east park development committee and Franklin County youth sports leaders submitted requests to SWT Design of what they would like to see included in the park.

East Park History

A group called the Franklin County Youth Sports Organization (FCYSO) was the initial driving force in the push for more sports fields to support the growing number of children who participate in baseball, softball, soccer and football.

The city purchased the land earmarked for a park, and the FCYSO later disbanded.

A city east park development committee formed, which included members of the FCYSO, sports organization heads and parks and recreation advisory board members.