The Cameron Parks Board shows the first concept of a proposed city park slated for the April ballot.Parks Board Member Jason Jones shows the first concept of the new pool.

First Look: City unveils new park, pool concepts

The Cameron Park Board unveiled the first concepts of a proposed city park and complete overhaul of the Cameron Municipal Pool.

During Thursday’s park board meeting, Vireo Landscape Architect Steve Rhodes presented the first concept of the new proposed park while the board circulated the first images of a proposed pool overhaul to promote a ½-cent sales tax funding the projects on the April 7 ballot.

“This would be the first step in the overall grand plan. We think the plan can accommodate additions to it,” Rhodes said. “… We could get three baseball and softball diamonds that are softball sized and then a high school-type size field. In addition to that, because of the lay of the land, we are able to accommodate two soccer fields that we were not able to accommodate at the land behind Walmart because of its grade.” 

Cameron Public Works Director Drew Bontrager estimated in January the tax proposal would generate $640,000 per year, with a sunset of 25 years, totaling $16 million for renovations to the city swimming pool and construction of a city park featuring baseball and softball fields. Last Thursday, Rhodes said the initial phase would also include an amphitheater.

“We hope to get an additional lot further to the north, a playground that will serve the baseball/softball complex and a community amphitheater – a grass amphitheater – with a pad you can park a larger stage trailer on for larger events,” Rhodes said. “We sizd that community amphitheater to be about half of what Kearney has, but will not have a stage like Kearney yet. We will locate a large pavilion at the top of that slope for large, community events. We’re hopeful to provide a practice field area and, in the future, those could develop into two additional diamonds.”

The revamped unveiling came on the heels of Bontrager announcing a change for venue for the new park, which was originally set for construction using land adjacent to the Western Missouri Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison. Last October, Cameron resident Chris Wilkinson proposed an alternate plan utilizing land at Northland Drive and Eighth Street. Rhodes said the plan proposed by Wilkinson heavily influenced the design of the proposed city park.

“It is a very visionary proposal for the city to continue to think about as we move forward in development of the city park,” Rhodes said. “In terms of making editions to this first piece of the visionary plan, the plan included trails that connected the east side of Cameron to the westside of Cameron using the old railroad bridge over the interstate. It included the depot being used as a snack shack and stops along the park. It was an everyone wins situation because it was close to the town and someplace everyone could get to.”

While not receiving the fanfare of the new park announcement, the Park Board also unveiled the first rendering of the new Cameron Municipal Pool. With Bontrager previously expressing concerns regarding the structural integrity of the current pool, the new complex - set to be constructed on atop of the old location – will feature additional waterslides, a children’s aquatic play area as well as a seven-lane swimming pool.

City officials will present the new concepts to the public for comments and feedback from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 as part of an open house at the YMCA. 

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