The Commission makes the right choice for private park events

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The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission made the right decision earlier this week not to rent Deborah Cooper Park for private events.

The city’s newest park has opened after decades of dreaming and planning. But it was always intended as a “passive park,” not meant to be rented out for birthday parties, alumni gatherings, or other private events.

Passive parks are less structured than typical parks. They often provide casual activities/hobbies that do not negatively impact the natural habitat. Or in this case, they offer simple amenities that won’t require expensive rebuilding when the Missouri River wipes it all out.

This is a lesson we learned from the floods of 1993 and 1995. Look at what the Parks Department has done to North Jefferson City, much of which is now ball diamonds and garden rental lots. It worked extremely well, and when flooded, it won’t cost taxpayers a fortune to get it back to these simple uses.

We say “when” there will be a flood, because there will be. This is another lesson we learned in North Jefferson City: “The 500-year flood” happens far more often than every 500 years.

Residents can rent the lodges at other parks, even at the North Jefferson City lodge. But the main reason not to rent Deborah Cooper Park is that access is limited inside and outside the park. It is located on Adrian’s Island and connected to the south side of the city by the Bicentennial Bridge.

As we reported, Parks Manager Todd Spalding said he spoke with Jefferson City police and fire officials and they agreed that holding private events could pose challenges. problems because of it.

“We never expected this park to be rented out,” Spalding said.

At most, he said, the department could consider holding small fundraising events for scholarship park offerings.

We think that makes sense, at least for now. Once the park becomes more established and perhaps experiments with small park-related fundraisers, this can always be revisited.

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