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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Renovations at Malone Park under way in city

Thursday, July 13, 2006

(Photo)
Sidewalks at Malone Park were rebuilt by Sikeston's street department workers.
SIKESTON -- City crews and community-minded businesses and individuals are teaming up to renovate Malone Park.

Those traveling along North, Stoddard, Scott or West Center, the streets that border the park, may have noticed the new, wider sidewalks bordering all but the east side.

"That portion of the sidewalk on the east side was in very good shape and we didn't want to disrupt it," said Steve Lee, street superintendent.

In addition to being in better shape than the other three sidewalks, the park's eastern sidewalk also has paving stones with the names of contributors that city officials wanted to leave in place.

"Those were placed in there about 15 years ago," Lee said. "A person could buy a stone and have it embedded in the sidewalk."

Sidewalk improvements on the other three sides were included in this budget year's street program, according to Lee.

While the project included redesigning sidewalk corners to make them handicapped accessible, the "Malone Park" lettering at the corners was kept intact. "We reinstalled them back where they originally were," Lee said.

Improvements at the park are not just coming from the city's coffers, however.

"One of the things we find most exciting about this project is the citizen involvement," said Linda Lowes, director of governmental services.

Both individuals and businesses have contributed time, money and other resources to renovate the park thanks to Sikeston resident Monique Rice, according to Lowes.

"She has been the spearhead and the driving force behind this project," Lowes said. "The city and staff support her efforts and are trying to assist her however and whenever we can."

"I'm just doing this because it needs to be done," Rice said. "This has a lot to do with the whole revitalization of the downtown area. This project was started by a couple of different individuals in association with the Historic Midtown Development Group."

Initial efforts are focused on restoring the park's centerpiece, a bandstand originally built in 1912.

"This has turned into a very large community service project," Rice said.

Don Pratt of Pratt Construction Co. has donated work from his crews to address structural problems.

"We've mainly just tore out the old ceiling in there to replace were it leaked and damaged the ceiling," Pratt said.

He said his crew will begin building a new roof today, if weather permits.

"Then we'll finish out the underneath part," he said. "We'll see how donations come in to see how far we can go."

C & K Building Materials is donating shingles for the bandstand project and Sonny's Solid Waste has also chipped in by hauling away waste materials.

In addition to donations from the businesses and individuals, the Historic Midtown Development Group "have pledged some money to help Monique in her effort to revitalize the bandstand," Lowes said. "We are hoping we can bring community events to that park once those renovations are complete."

A letter will go out to civic groups soon seeking donations or other contributions, Rice said.

"This has to come from private contributions and donations," she said. Rice explained the bandstand renovations aren't eligible for downtown revitalization grant funding because it is neither an income-producing building nor a residence.

In addition to the roof and ceiling work, the structure also needs paint and new electrical outlets. Joe Green Electrical Service has already committed to donating time for electrical hookups, Rice noted.

Once renovations to the bandstand are complete, plans are to put in some low-voltage in-ground lighting for the structure as well as landscaping and some new park benches.

All renovations and improvements are being planned with the idea of keeping them "user friendly," Rice said, so improvements don't end up presenting maintenance problems for the city's Parks Division.

"We have had, since this started, a lot of input from different individuals with excellent ideas. We're hoping we can get all requests taken care of," she said. "This is an ongoing community project."