Rosewood residents told city officials Wednesday that removal of litter and other upkeep is as vital as a facelift at Owens Field Park.
The park on the south edge of Columbia is looking shabby because of inadequate maintenance and erosion in some parts, some nearby homeowners said.
“This 50 acres should be treated as a precious jewel,” Mike Miller said.
City parks director Jeff Caton agreed that keeping the park in good shape is as important as updating its features and possibly adding more.
“We haven’t been doing a very good job of that lately in protecting it,” he told about 30 residents and representatives of sports groups at a neighborhood meeting to discuss what renovations should be considered.
Many residents suggested more trash cans during a survey of what features they favor.
New features under discussion include a fenced-in area for dogs to roam unleashed and conversion of one sports field into a site for disabled youngsters to play baseball.
The goal is “strike a balance” among those who favor keeping the park as a sports hub and others who want its undeveloped sections kept mostly natural, Caton said.
“We want to make sure it all fits together,” he told the group.
The first step is coming in spring with soil improvements to correct fields so hard “you could land a plane on it,” Caton said.
Plans calls for a package of recommendations for the park to be presented to City Council for approval as soon as January.
“I appreciate they’re listening and I think something will come out of it,” homeowner Stan Frick said. “It behooves the city to do everything it can to make sure it is a well-developed and well-maintained park.”