City council hears first reading for 32,000 square foot expansion at CMMG

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

Short and sweet. That’s how Boonville City Administrator Kate Fjell referred Tuesday night’s council meeting-which lasted a total of 20 minutes not counting the closed session afterwards.

However in those 20 minutes, Fjell said the council heard everything from public comments from Gigi McAreavy (Director of Economic Development of Cooper County) on the importance of housing development and growth in the city. 

The council also heard a first reading on the final site plans for CMMG expansion.

Finally, after no reports from the standing committees, Paul Linhart, Josh Black and Jimmy Barbarotta briefed the council on the parks department, Hail Ridge Golf Course and Boonville City Soccer Fields.

In addition, Fjell said Amber Davis was introduced to the council as the new city clerk. Davis will replace Teresa Studley, who is currently transitioning as assistant to the city administrator. Fjell said Studley’s role will include project management. 

As for the public comments, Fjell said Jay Wells commented that she had some issues with groundwater during the heavy rains and that it got into her crawl space.

Also, in public comments, Ken Hirlinger was there to support CMMG’s expansion. Fjell said CMMG is doing a 32,000 square foot expansion on their building. 

CMMG is located at 2301 Boonslick Drive in Boonville. 

CMMG, which was established in 2002, is the leading manufacturer of AR15 rifles, components and small parts.

As for the reports on the parks, golf course and soccer fields, Fjell said Linhart (Director of Parks and Recreation) commented that the parks department maintains 12 parks that contain approximately 175 acres. He said the parks department also maintains the lawns and does minor maintenance at the council chamber, police department, visitors center, chamber of commerce, and the area all the way to the railroad bridge. “There are times we help with maintenance issues at the Soccer Park, Golf Course and the YMCA,” Linhart added. “Also, we clean the downtown area from Thespian Hall to the bridge.”

In addition, Linhart said the parks department also starts preparing the Aquatic Center in April for opening day, which always falls on Memorial Day weekend and goes through August, depending on when everyone returns to school. He said then it takes approximately three weeks to prepare the pool for winter.

Linhart said he is also responsible for the Tree Program within the city right of way, which consists of a bid process usually in August to have someone trim or remove hazardous trees in these areas.

“I feel I have employees that take pride in maintaining the parks and ballfields for the citizens of Boonville to enjoy throughout the year,” Linhart said. “I am always available to help with any questions or concerns regarding our parks and recreation.”

Hail Ridge Golf Course Superintendent Josh Black also reported on the progress being made at Hail Ridge Golf Course. He said the Hail Ridge that he took on in late 2016 is far different from the property that we see today.

“Much of the zoysia fairways/tees were dry and void of turf,” Black said. “The rough was sparse/weed ridden. Native grasses were encroaching on playable areas, with tall, noxious grasses highly prevalent. Treed areas were overgrown. They did not allow proper air movement or sunshine vital to healthy turf. Greens had a spongy "black" layer of organic material that did not make for healthy long term turf. Through hard work, dedicated/diligent focus we made some good progress. Affectively eliminating these major issue by: increasing top dressing frequency, neutralizing the soil and eliminating usage of on site wells heavily contaminated with sodium. We have increased fertilization and irrigation to fairways/tees. We have increased mowed turf in areas where players hit the most erratic shots. We have also taken out a massive number of trees. This allows for better airflow, more sunlight and much better views across the property.”

Black added that while the first two years in this process were uncomfortable, they now feel that Boonville has one of the best public golf options in mid-Missouri. 

“We plan to continue to improve,” Black said. “Our improvement attracts many players from both the surrounding area, Missouri and surrounding states. Roughly 60% of the rounds played are golfers from outside of Boonville, with 40% of those being from the Columbia market. As we continue to improve our draw grows from outside of the area bringing more stays at local hotels and more traffic to the casino as well as area bars/restaurants.”

Black also listed immediate needs to get the course to the next level such as cart path work, seeding or sod work and parking lot gravel.

Short term needs, he said, are irrigation pump service, which should take place every seven years or so. He said it has never been done with the current pumps. Also, in the plans, is round two of tree removal.

As for long term plans, he said city water to irrigation pond, Black said the irrigation pond is fed by four contaminated wells. He said this well water wreaks havoc on soil and turf. City water will eliminate the need for these tainted sources, he said. 

Other long term projects are restrooms on the course for patrons that have not been in use in 15 years. He said once city water is in place these restrooms will need to be gutted and redone. The gravel parking lot is also a mess that turns into a mud or dust mess, depending on the atmospheric conditions. Black said it would make a massive difference in how people perceive Hail Ridge and Boonville.

Lastly, Barbarotta said the Boonville Soccer Academy manages and maintains the Missouri Soccer Park through a joint agreement between the city, Boonville School District and BSA. Barbarotta said BSA has a good partnership amongst all parties and this has led to numerous successes at the park.

The Soccer Park is located on the campus of Boonville High School and includes five artificial turf fields and one natural grass fields (additionally available through a separate agreement is the BHS football field).

Barbarotta said since opening, the park has several repeat users which include: Mid-Missouri Micro Soccer League (run by BSA), the Olympic Development Program and the State and Reginal youth soccer leagues. We have hosted soccer, lacrosse and frisbee tournaments on the fields since opening. This year we also hosted the Missouri Show Me State Games at the Park.

Barbarotta added that the quality of the soccer fields is top notch. “We routinely receive compliments from visiting players about the quality and layout of the park,” Barbarotta said. “However, as we have hosted more teams and groups, there are a couple items needed to improve the facility such as a sound system, signage, and a sidewalk connecting the building to the pathways at fields 6 and 7.”

Barbarotta added that BSA has brought someone on board to assist in recruiting and marketing the soccer park to St. Louis particularly, but the entire state. He said BSA employs one staff person, Gary Nauman, to do maintenance around the park in accordance with the agreement. 

“We will need additional people hired to help during soccer tournaments and other busy times, as currently the BSA board generally comes in and volunteers to assist with managing the park during these busy times,” Barbarotta said. “We do all the renting of the fields online. The City receives these monies currently in a separate account that is currently being banked for future turf replacement.”

Barbarotta said since this project was conceived as a economic development project, everyone pays to use the soccer fields except for the high school, which was stipulated in the agreement.

In other news, Fjell said contractors are getting started on the asphalt pavement seals. She said the contractors were out by the golf course on Monday. “This is not an overlay but mainly patches,” Fjell said. “A lot of it intersection work. We’re not doing any chip and seal this year.”