Last year, the Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission sent out a request for qualifications for a market feasibility study on the development of an ice arena on the Missouri State Penitentiary site — an element of the Chesterfield Hotels proposal that was popular with the public.
At Tuesday’s Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, Parks Director Todd Spalding told the commission they have interviewed four companies out of seven proposals that were received and will be coming up with a recommendation soon.
“We want a firm that works in operation of ice arenas,” Spalding said. “We want them to do a study that looks at what we have, if we need more what do we need and how our pricing structure is set up compared to other arenas.”
The Chesterfield group proposed a large development at the site, which could come in four stages. The first would include a hotel and conference center as well as some infrastructure like roads and parking. Future stages could include a mixture of uses from a two-sheet ice arena to commercial and residential buildings, much of which would be developed by others.
Chesterfield officials added that a hotel, conference center and parking garage, plus the ice arena and housing potentials, would cover about 60 percent of the redevelopment site.
“What we see across the country are ice arenas purchasing multipurpose flooring and putting that on top of the ice so the arena can be used for other activities,” Spalding said. “That’s something we’ve talked with these groups about possibly being done at a new facility.
“We’ve also talked with them about, if a new facility were built, how would you repurpose the Washington Park Ice Arena. Maybe use it for indoor soccer or volleyball and basketball. What we’re concerned about is we offer many leagues, but we don’t offer as many facilities as we need to. These are things we are trying to take into account as we talk to these firms. Multipurpose is always good,” he said.
Spalding hopes to have a proposal for the commission to approve by their next meeting in March.
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, it was announced that on Feb. 1 a new website for the parks department was launched. Jefferson City Parks Community Relations Manager Amy Schroeder said jcparks.com will be easier to search for activities and there will also be the ability to show blogs about parks-related items.
She said the new site has Google analytics to provide more information about who visits the website and what they are looking for when they search. She said they believe that will help the department find out more about what people want.
In another report, Assistant Parks Director JJ Gates showed commission members how Vivion Field received a new and improved baseball at the entrance Friday. Parks and rec mechanics turned an old propane tank into a sculpture. The building and placement process can be seen on the JC Parks Facebook page.
Spalding was asked about the future of Vivion after the Jefferson City School District announced its new ball field off of Stadium Boulevard was scheduled to be ready for next year’s season. With the team playing at its own site, Spalding said, he saw it as a “win-win” for the school and parks.
“It’s going to save us a lot of money, and I’ve already reached out to a couple of leagues that could play at Vivion,” Spalding said. “It will be good for the school and good for us.”
In other action, it was announced commission member Karen Brickey would be resigning due to family matters. Commissioners said they would work as quickly as possible to fill her position.