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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Popular Springfield Park Could Soon More Than Double In Size

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City of Springfield
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Sequiota Park is a popular place for playing, relaxing, hiking and picnicking.  The Galloway Creek Greenway, which was designated in 2003 as a National Recreation Trail by the National Park Service and American Trails, runs through it.  But the park's boundaries encompass only 12.7 acres.  That could soon change.

Bob Belote, director of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, updated Springfield City Council this week on a plan to incorporate adjacent property into Sequiota Park’s boundaries.  The properties include just over 6.4 acres north of Lacuna St., 3.7 acres just north of the park and 6.6 acres south of the park.

He said those areas could be used for things like nature exploration, additional picnic areas, linear parking and a bike repair station while still serving as a conservation easement and providing wildlife habitat and stormwater protection.

"What we really want to do is offer some of the same protections that a conservation easement would give us but then also allow us to do some things in those areas that would serve the park and serve the trail a little bit better," said Belote.

He said there would be no cost to incorporating the land into the park since it’s already owned by the city. 

The next step is for the park board to formally review and adopt the plan, and Belote expects it to go before city council in March or April.  After that, the park board would work with the neighborhood and stakeholders to develop a Sequiota Park Area master plan.

Belote said the plan to expand the park fits into what the community said it wanted for the Galloway area in the Our Community Plan.  It was citizen-driven, according to Belote, and was developed during an administrative delay requested by city council from November 2018 through August 2019.

The Sequiota Park area as a recreational site dates back many years.  The lake was built in 1881, and people would ride the Frisco train from Springfield to visit the park.  There were boat tours of the cave that visitors could take.

It was Missouri’s first state park, according to Belote, and served as a fish hatchery, operated by the Missouri Game and Fish Department.  That department was replaced by the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1937.  MDC continued to operate the hatchery until 1959 when the hatchery was no longer needed, and the land was donated to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.

View Belote's presentation to Springfield City Council here.