BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — More than one year after voters approved a half-cent park sales tax, the city of Blue Springs is making upgrades.
Over the years, Laurie House has been taking her kids and now her grandkids to the parks in Blue Springs. She said she feels a lot has changed.
"The area that used to be up here didn't have a whole lot to it," said House.
Rotary Park at Railroad Lake is just one park the city of Blue Springs feared would have to close for safety reasons.
"We had playgrounds and facilities within our parks system that were basically going to have to be shut down because they were a liability," said Dennis Dovel, Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Blue Springs.
More than one year ago, the city faced about $20 million of unfunded maintenance needs in the parks system. Until April 2017, the city had used money from its general fund. After nearly 70 percent of voters approved a half-cent park sales tax, the city has been generating money for repairs.
"Anything to do with kids and schools and stuff, I'm usually up for any of that," said House.
To date, the city has renovated two playgrounds, updated trails and tennis courts around town. Next, the city will tackle Burrus Old Mill Park.
"The splash pad coming to Blue Springs, it's going to be an exciting opportunity for our residents to finally get an amenity they've asked for, for several years," said Dovel.
Old Mill Park will get a brand new splash pad and playground. The skatepark, trails, restrooms and shelters will also be updated. The city said they hope to start construction soon, having it reopen in the spring or early summer.
The park sales tax will sunset in 2022. Each year, the city estimates the tax will produce $3 million annually.