The Sedalia Parks & Recreation Board met at the Municipal Building Thursday evening to take care of February business with updates on several projects.

But first, Jeff Mazzella was recognized for his tireless efforts and wealth of knowledge on the occassion of his retirement from Parks & Rec after 28 years.

Executive Director Amy Epple praised Mazzella and used words such as “good attitude, fun and knowledgeable” to describe him. “Mazzella was our assistant parks superintendent,” Epple said. “We're really going to miss him, but happy for him and his family that he does get to enjoy his retirement. He's been wanting to retire for almost three years. He's our go-to guy, and he knows everything, he's seen so much change.”

Sedalia's second-oldest park, Hubbard, is celebrating 100 years in 2021, Epple noted. “That's the one park we're really trying to make improvements in and update. It's a gorgeous park, with so much room.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new playground is planned when the weather gets nicer, Epple said. “We still have a retaining wall we still need to put in, but the weather just hasn't been cooperating.”

A new splash pad will soon be installed at Hubbard. “You'll start seeing movement by the end of March, and it will be open by the middle of June,” Epple noted, adding that the cost of the splash pad is around a half million dollars ($525,000). The splash pad will replace the old playground, which is where the old Hubbard pool used to be.

The splash pad will be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, she noted.

Custom-designed flags designed by a local artist will adorn the light poles at Hubbard celebrating the 10th anniversary of the 23-acre park, located at Johnson and Missouri. The flags are expected to be installed in about two months.

“Big things are happening over at Hubbard Park and throughout our entire Parks Department, we're just trying to do a really good job of maintaining them and keeping them looking nice, while adding a little excitement to the community as well,” Epple concluded.

Construction on a new train house at Liberty Park is expected to be completed by mid-May and hopes are to have the train running by Memorial Day weekend. “Our plan is to have it open from Memorial Day to Labor Day (on the weekends). Then we'll have it open after Labor Day for special events and for rental such as birthday parties and the like,” Epple noted.

The Park Board approved three pool-related bids Thursday night. All three came in under budget, Epple stressed.

One bid for over $36,000 was received from Westport Pools for pool filter media replacement.

JCI from Lee's Summit submitted the winning bid for pool pump repairs at a little over $38,000.

Safe Slide submitted the winning bid for pool slide refinishing. It is the same company Parks & Rec has worked with in the past, and had a good experience with, and comes with a five-year warranty. Their bid was almost $5,000 more than the next lowest bid, Epple noted. However, they will come and do an inspection, so in the long run, we're really not spending more money, and we know we're using a company that's going to do a fabulous job and they'll get our slides through their life expectancy.”

Epple said that in about eight years, “we will need a new aquatic facility. I like to have a plan in place and I always feel like if you have a goal, you better write it down if you want to make it happen. It's important that we take care of the parks now and in the future.”

Parks Superintendent Matt Harris has recently taken on a new position within Parks & Rec as Project Manager. In the meantime, “we have been advertising for a Parks Superintendent position, and made an offer, and the gentleman accepted it this morning (Feb. 11) and will start on March 8 with us,” Epple stated.

An agreement between Parks & Rec, the City of Sedalia, and MoDOT will allow a concrete walking trail to be built in Liberty Park. The agreement concerns an easement of land at 3rd and Limit. The Park Board voted in favor of the agreement. The matter now moves to full Council for approval.

Park Board member Megan Simmons was absent from Thursday night's proceedings.