A discussion of ways to control stormwater runoff turned into a plan to more than double one of Springfield’s Historic City parks.
Springfield-Greene County Parks Director Bob Belote addressed Springfield City Council during their Tuesday lunch session about a plan to take Sequiota Park in southeast Springfield from under 13 acres to almost 29 acres.
The expansion would come through use of city-owned lots to the north and south of the current park. The land owned by the city is currently being used as a buffer between the park and development in the area. There would be no cost in terms of buying or selling the land, just a transfer of maintenance costs from the city to the park board.
“The expansion of Sequiota Park is another step in the direction of making Springfield a great place to live, work and play,” Springfield City Councilman Abe McGull told OI. “Eventually, we plan to connect our trails and parks throughout the city so our citizens can leave their car in the driveway and ride their bike to work!”
The expansion of the park is not an entirely new idea; the 2019 “Our Galloway” planning process discussed expansion of the park and the addition of park areas like new restrooms, picnic spots, and improved trails. The idea of park expansion gained ground over the past year following a spike in use, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic making more residents explore outdoor activities like biking and hiking.
The proposal would leave stormwater protection created through the buffer land intact and protect the wildlife habitat. The new space would be used to address linear parking issues with the current park, open up additional nature exploration, and possibly lead to new and expanded Ozark Greenways trails.
“I appreciate the Park team’s excellent work on this request,” Springfield Councilman Matt Simpson told OI. “Their plan will benefit everyone who enjoys spending time at Sequoita Park, more than doubling its size and enhancing the Ozark Greenways trail.”
The Park Board’s proposal will now be reviewed by city staff and Council members with an anticipated return for a formal vote in March or April.