One of Neosho's assets are the city's six parks. With that in mind, several dozen citizens gathered together on Tuesday evening to kick-off a Friends of the Park group.
The idea for a friends group was brought to the City of Neosho by Randy Becknell, a retired Missouri State Parks land manager. Becknell suggested organizing what he called an "umbrella group" of like-minded citizens. Neosho Parks Superintendent Clint Dalbom liked the idea and Tuesday's meeting was the result.
Neosho's parks are used by a wide variety of individuals and groups that include families, geo-cachers, cyclists, hikers, disc golfers, stream teams, fishermen, trout anglers, dog walkers, joggers, skateboarders, skaters, baseball players, soccer players, nature lovers, picnickers and many others and their input is vital.
At Tuesday night's kickoff meeting, a list of go-to people was made. Efforts to coordinate future workdays and events in the local parks were discussed. These efforts will help prevent confusion when one group plans an event at one of the parks and learns the park is already in use.
"I see great advantages for the city," Dalbom stated.
"This is just the beginning, to get it right," Becknell said. He compiled a list of those present and the organizations, if any, that they represent. Then he called upon each to share the ideas or projects they have planned for the parks.
Friends of the Park set a date for the a community wide clean-up, Sunday, April 5 from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
This meeting will follow the city wide rummage sales and be in advance of many upcoming events in the parks.
March 1 is opening day for trout season and since Hickory Creek in Morse Park is a White Ribbon Trout Stream anglers can start fishing on opening day.
The clock in Big Spring Park is being repaired for a return later this spring to its' spot in the park.
Friends of the Park will continue to meet and plan for our local parks.
Neosho's parks include:
Big Spring Park is the crown jewel of Neosho, featuring a unique floral clock, 1920's Grecian stage, kids wading pool, and the popular trout and koi pond where generations of people have enjoyed feeding the fish from nearby feeders. Big Spring Park is a popular place for weddings because of its natural beauty. Big Spring Park remains a favorite location for numerous community events.
Big Spring Park is located at 309 West Spring Street.
Morse Park is the largest park in the city. Flowing through the entire length of the park is Hickory Creek, a White Ribbon Trout Stream. This means that trout fishing is permitted throughout the year, with catch and keep allowed from March 1 through Oct. 31. All other fishing regulations apply. Hickory Creek is home to both Brown and Rainbow Trout, as well as Bass. Morse Park also includes a 1.73 mile pedestrian and bicycle nature trail that winds along the serene waters of Hickory Creek. A recent 1,600 foot addition offers an alternate loop route, and the paved trail is currently being extended to include a path around the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. Also located in Morse Park are a disc golf course, several baseball, softball, and soccer fields, and outdoor basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. The park also includes RV camping areas for visitors who wish to stay in town a few days. Morse Park begins at 500 East Spring Street and extends to the east and north.
Scenic Park, located in the north part of Neosho, is a peaceful green space in this historic "old town" area. The ball field was re-furbished in 2016 and new playground equipment placed the following year. Restoration and improvements to the park area will continue annually as this park is brought up to it's full potential. Scenic Park is located at 1500 North Main Avenue.
Hawthorne Park is located on Hwy 59 is a quaint little roadside park, perfect for a quick lunch break or just to relax and meditate.
Crystal Springs Park is located below our local office of the Missouri Conservation and next to the golf course. Crystal Springs was formerly ormerly a roadside stop on the State Highway system and very popular in the 1950's and 1960's,
Additional areas in the Parks complex, includes Crystal Springs. Formerly a roadside stop on the State Highway system and very popular in the 1950's and 1960's, it remains a pleasant, restful area nestled at the foot of one of the many Ozark hills. Sitting just off the edge of a retail district and next to the Municipal Golf Course, this park offers an accessible retreat for lunch or a quick break. Nearby, on Highway 59, is Hawthorne Park, which for many years was a roadside park. Renovations and improvements are now underway at this popular lunch spot.
Bicentennial Park is located out on Doniphan Drive inside of the Industrial Park. This park has a pavillion and a 1/4 mile walking trail with plenty of trees for those who love nature.
Neosho is blessed with a number of streams, many which are formed by the abundance of springs. These many springs are the inspiration for the logo "City of Springs", and include names such as Bell's Iron, Hatchery, Hobo, Morse, Brock's, Bethesda, Birch, Carter, McElhany, Mertin, Sevier's and Big Spring originally known as Clark's Spring. Streams formed by these springs include Hickory Creek and Big Spring. These streams are major features of the city park system and are tributaries of Shoal Creek. .
Friends of the Park is a grassroots group for individuals/organizations from the community of Neosho and surrounding areas who have a positive concern and development ideas for their local parks.