New hours, community center; agenda items for Parks and Rec

If you love to fish late at night, there could be some good news coming from the Kirksville Lakes, Parks and Recreation committee.

The group met Tuesday afternoon and they decided to propose to the Kirksville City Council to change the city ordinance to allow people to fish in city ponds and lakes 24 hours a day.

Currently, the city ordinance states that all recreational facilities close between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless written permission is granted otherwise.

The committee is trying to amend the city ordinance to match state statutes. That would require changing the hours of closure at Hazel Creek Lake, Spur Pond, and Forest Lake from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Also, they are seeking to amend the ordinance so that activities such as fishing, hunting, and dog training would be allowed at any time of the day as long as those activities are permitted at a particular area of Hazel Creek Lake, Spur Pond and Forest Lake.

"It's really a housekeeping matter," said Melanie Smith, the Kirksville Assistant City Manager. "The state statute right now dictates that they're open for fishing 24 hours a day so this is really just to make our city ordinance match the state statute and I would anticipate that they would approve that."

The committee members said it was important to clarify the park hours so that people are using the parks for their intended purposes during the night and not having late-night barbeques or get-togethers.

The committee also discussed the proposed project of building a community center in Kirksville. During the meeting, Assistant City Manager Melanie Smith said the city is working with the Center For Applied Statistics and Evaluation or C.A.S.E. at Truman State University to conduct focus groups on the needs the community center should meet.

"Right now, we're really working with the CASE group at Truman to come up with a needs assessment determining what the need is in our community and that may be a conference center, it may be a recreational facility, it may be a senior center, it could be a combination of things," said Smith.

"So we're really just exploring what that need is so that we can come up with a concept that will meet that need. "

CASE is working with four focus groups. After gathering information from them, the city plans to send out surveys to residents attached to their water bills as well post them online on the city's website. They expect to deliver the surveys sometime between December and February.

The next Lakes, Parks, and Recreation Committee meeting will be Tuesday, January 3rd.