The Sedalia Park Board held their August meeting Thursday on location.

And that location was in the middle of Liberty Park Boulevard next to the Heckart Community Center.

The occasion was the one-year anniversary of the passage of a tax levy that Sedalia voters approved in a special election held Aug. 6, 2019, that allowed for the construction of the community center.

The meeting opened with a guided tour of the construction site, led by Dan Close, senior project manager for Paric, the general contractor for the Heckart Community Center.

Also attending Thursday evening were City Administrator Kelvin Shaw and Mayor John Kehde, as well as Sue Heckart, who proposed to pay the interest on bonds, with naming rights to the community center.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the nearly $14 million facility was held June 11.

Following the tour, the Park Board held its business meeting.

The Board approved a $287,900 bid from Preferred Construction for a train house at Liberty Park. The amount was still over budget, noted Parks & Rec Executive Director Amy Epple.

“That's a lot of money,” remarked two board members.

Epple asked the board what they wanted to do – approve, re-bid, table the matter or just say no. Well the board, after a brief discussion, said yes and the matter was resolved. There was general agreement that $65,000 did not need to be spent on construction of a new bathroom, when there is already one nearby.

The Liberty Park Flyer will run once again Sept. 19, Epple noted, for a special event. Next season, the train will be operated and maintained entirely by staff.

With the coronavirus pandemic still in full swing, board member Megan Simon noted that many people are thankful the Sedalia pools are open, with many residents not traveling during the pandemic and choosing to stay local.

Epple said that the Hubbard Park improvement project is a little behind schedule, but added that the company contracted to do the work will conduct a site visit in two weeks.

The Liberty Park tennis courts have been closed for repair this past week, and work was continuing during the meeting. Epple said the work is progressing nicely and expects to see the court back open by the middle of next week. Once the work crew leaves, there is a two-day curing period needed before play can resume.

Epple told the Board she will be involved with the Missouri Leadership Institute for the next 12 weeks (two hours at a time). She will be using her top-notch skills as a Parks & Rec director to encourage other future leaders to pursue their careers in Parks & Recreation.

The recent loss of Parks & Rec employee Greg Katzing “was hard for all of us” Epple said. But Renaie Hoard is currently conducting interviews to replace him.

Connie Washington was welcomed as the newest board member.

Parks & Rec maintenance worker Charles Amos was featured as Epple's Staff Spotlight of the Month.

And finally, Park Board members agreed to start meeting on the second Thursday of the month instead of the first. This will allow board members to get a more timely handle on the monthly financial reports, instead of having a roughly three-week delay between the time the figures are released, and when the board meets again.