Meeting Monday to consider goals and guidelines, the newly created Neosho Parks Recreation and Golf Course Board emphasized one thing above all else: Public input.
Fashioned out of the consolidated parks and recreation committee and golf course board, the new board now singly covers those areas in a continued advisory role to the city.
Some suggested goals for the committee, submitted by members before the meeting, included keeping the parks as clean as possible, including all restrooms, as well as Hickory Creek in Morse Park; reaching out to younger citizens to participate on the board; working with city management and the city council, as well as with all other advisory boards and committees, to keep communication clear and open; and pushing for more playgrounds, more ball fields, more parks and more trails. The board will also make recommendations for the golf course, including fee rates.
After discussion, it was eventually decided that a generic mission statement incorporating these ideas would be written up and submitted to the board members for review and proposed amendments, along with a short list of broad goals that the committee would like have in place. Both the mission statement and the goals are expected to be approved at the board’s next meeting.
Board chairman Richard Clemons said he didn’t know what the public’s perception of the board may be, but indicated that a mission statement may help make the board’s purpose a little clearer. He said some people may believe the new committee is simply made up of former golf course board members, though he said there are only three people, including himself, from that dissolved board on the new nine-person committee.
“The way this was designed was to mix and match and get some more people involved so it wasn’t just a golf course committee,” Clemons said.
He said it was important that the board not become too microscopic in its focus but be broad enough to include everyone’s particular concerns as related to parks, recreation and the golf course.
Board member Ken Mayer said that citizens should be encouraged to attend the Parks Recreation and Golf Course Board meetings to give their input.
“We need input from the community, so that we can then go to the city council and say ‘hey, this is what they want,'” Mayer said.
City manager Troy Royer said that having community input was key to determining what people want and would like to see to enhance the quality of life in Neosho.
“I think when people see that we are really as a city trying to involve them, that we may get more input,” Royer said. “Maybe they used to feel that their voice wasn't being heard. I don't think they feel that way now.”
Page 2 of 2 - Board member Barbara Lombardi recommended that the board create a Facebook webpage to better communicate with the public. She had earlier noted the importance of getting more people to serve on the board itself.
Clemons later said that the best way to get more citizens involved was to first identify the board's role in the community.
“We're not just a parks board, we're not just a golf course board,” Clemons said.
Board members also reviewed the fee schedule for the golf course, as well as rental rates for the parks, ball fields, swimming pool, and public buildings. The possibility of offering a military discount at the golf course was discussed and may be taken up at a future meeting.
The next meeting of the Neosho Parks Recreation and Golf Course Board is tentatively set for 5 p.m. Nov. 13, with a location to be announced.
Two vacancies for one-year terms currently exist on the Neosho Parks Recreation and Golf Course Board. If interested in serving on the committee, call City Clerk Nora Houdyshell at 451-8050.