by Logan Gruber
Park board chair John Anderson is looking forward to doing a lot of reading in May, and he hopes you’ll be supplying him with the material.
Anderson, along with the rest of the park board, wants you to take their new survey.
“We want to update our parks comprehensive plan, and don’t want to do it in a vacuum…we haven’t done it since 2008,” Anderson said. “One of the things that is prompting the update of the plan is the extension of the half-cent sales tax.”
The survey developed over a couple of months and was put out about three weeks ago.
“We’ll let it stay up until just before our May  meeting,” he said.
At the park board meeting on May 26 is when the board will go over the survey, and try to determine what suggestions to present to the city council in their new comprehensive parks plan.
Anderson said in this survey the board is asking for “something the park board hasn’t gotten into in the past,” namely, recreational activities.
The survey lists the following recreational activities for people to show their interest in: swimming, archery, adult sports leagues, snow shoeing, arts and crafts, movies in the park and more. The survey is also fairly short at only nine questions, mostly multiple choice, with a lot of room for constructive comments.
“I think it’s important to take the survey if citizens want to have input on what’s going to happen to the city’s parks over the next 10 years,” Anderson said.
He also encourages area residents to attend park board meetings to give input in person as well.
The Park Board meets the fourth Monday of each month, generally at city hall, but as the weather warms up they will be conducting meetings at different city parks, weather permitting. This spring and summer, the monthly meetings will be held at the following dates in the following parks: Monday, April 27 at Millstream Park Shelter; Tuesday, May 26 at the Wobegon Trailhead Shelter; Monday, June 22 at the Centennial Park Shelter; Monday, July 27 at Cloverdale Park; and, Monday, Aug. 24 at Klinefelter Park. If there is inclement weather, the meeting will be moved to city hall.
The July meeting is being held at Anderson’s favorite park, Cloverdale. Cloverdale is located at 800 E. Able St.
“It’s my favorite because we worked so hard on it last summer,” Anderson said.
Cloverdale was a “tot-lot” a small neighborhood park, given by developers to the city as part of their agreement when creating a subdivision.
In the summer of 2014, after three years of planning, the parks department and the public works department, led by Terry Thene, transformed the old park into a “tranquility” park. The cost was $250,000, but with generous donations, like the gazebo donated by the St. Joseph Lions, the city ended up footing only $25,000 in total. Anderson said they had a wonderful open house with the neighborhood when it was completed.
You can take the survey and let the park board know what you think should be done in the coming years to improve St. Joseph’s parks, by going to surveymonkey.com/s/StJosephParkBoard. The link is also available on the city’s website, at cityofstjoseph.com.