A search for simpler application forms to rent pavilions and athletic fields in the city parks has been completed.
The park board has redesigned the rental application forms and the rental cost rate sheet making them user-friendly. Park board member Kelley Washam chaired the redesign project.
Creating new forms and fees schedule has been the mission of park board members who said even they could not always understand the old applications and fee structures, which often left it up to the city collector to determine how much each individual patron should pay.
The board had spent more than a year reviewing how much users pay for exclusive use of the pavilions and athletic fields in the city parks and the format of the forms used to rent the facilities.
Much of the time during the review, the board did not have a full slate of members and some meetings could not be held due to lack of a quorum.
Once a full board was seated by adding three members in September, Stephen Flannery, park board president, asked for a quick review of work done on the fees and forms and asked members to vote on whether to take them as a recommendation to the aldermen.
The rental forms were made simpler in both the language on the forms and in the procedure for reserving portions of the park.
Washam typed the new forms and distributed them to park board members and to The Missourian.
The new applications and rate structure will be considered for approval by aldermen at the Oct. 16 meeting, but action was postponed to give citizens who questioned one of the proposed charges time to talk with the park board.
Rental fees were left relatively the same with the exception that the park board wanted to rent Blackburn Park for the exclusive use of private parties, such as weddings, and close off the entrance to the park during the time of the rental.
An hourly rate of $40 per hour with a minimum of four hours was the proposed rental fee for the Upper Blackburn Park atop the bluff.
Lower Blackburn, where A.D.A.M.’s Garden, a small grief park and grief angel are located, is not available for rental, according to the proposed schedule.
Some residents oppose any rental of Blackburn Park. They said the bluff top park, like Lower Blackburn, should be open to anyone who wants to use it.
“If people want to get married up at Blackburn, I say let them get married up there,” Bob Myers said. “But I don’t think they should ever close off the park.”
Myers is the grandfather of Boy Scout Zach Myers who placed a replica Civil War cannon at Blackburn Park as an Eagle Scout project.
“When Zach was collecting donations for the cannon he told people it would be for tourism,” the elder Myers said. “He never told anyone that the park might be closed off part of the time.”
If a group of tourists drives from another state, or from a neighboring city, with intentions to see the cannon, they should not find the park entrance roped for a private party, Myers said.
The decision by the park board to rent Blackburn was not unanimous. Some members strongly opposed it.
“I asked them to give citizens a chance to discuss it before it come to the aldermen for approval,” Mayor Herb Adams told The Missourian. “I also asked the citizens who had talked to me and to individual aldermen about it to take their concerns to the park board.”
Adams said whenever emotions run high on an issue it’s important to slow down and talk to as many people as possible.
“The park board meeting is the place to have these discussions,” he said.
The park board meets the first Monday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m. at city hall, one day before the board of aldermen meeting. Meetings are open to the public.