With spring on the horizon in just a couple of weeks, it’s normal for Jackson County Parks and Recreation personnel to be preparing for the warmer weather. This year presents new challenges with damages to every key recreational area.
Parks and Recreation Director Rett Daniels said the challenges are definitely in place this year, “From what our respective is from the county, trying to do as much as wen can on a short amount of time to get places open and safe for the people and the public to come out and enjoy. Primarily, our busiest places during the summertime are going to be Jackson Blue Springs which is county-maintained park owned by the state. Then we’ve got Spring Creek which is where the Millpond flows into the dam at Highway 90 and the bottom part of that is Spring Creek. We have a public kayak and canoe launch there that a lot of people use and put in their own tubes and things like that.”
Daniels said both of those locations sustained quite a bit of damage and what they are looking at right now for Spring Creek, the entire boardwalk system has been demolished, “We don’t have time right now to remove the debris and then repair the Boardwalk system. So, for right now, that area will be minimally open. We are going to try to isolate a few areas that are okay and accessible and safe to use but for the most part, the upper parking lot area will not have a continual access to the bottom which is where a lot of people put in.” Daniels said that would be a pretty big setback for parks and recreation this year.
Another very popular spot is Blue Springs or Jackson Blue took a huge hit. Daniels says there are contractors in the park removing debris and trying to rebuild. He said, “Our dock system’s completely demolished, part of it’s detached and it’s further down the pond and hung up and we haven’t been able to retrieve it yet. A lot of our buildings sustained damage. The pavilions have to be re-roofed. There’s a lot that has to be done before we can trust the property to be able to sustain the amount of people that we have out there on a regular basis.”
Another popular spot is Turner’s Landing according to Daniels. Daniels said, “This is just a little ways down from Spring Creek and we’ve got a parking lot where they’ll come and park, set up lawn chairs and let children play in the water. This is one area that we are going to focus on and try to get opened up just so we can get people out and about exploring our beautiful waterways.”
Daniels said that it’s a possibility to adjust the schedule at Blue Springs to being closed one day to allow them to continue to clean up debris while the park is open the rest of the week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
He said, “We’ve got our work cut out for us. We just hope everybody will bear with us.”
Daniels did add that the county does plan to continue ‘Concert in the Park’ this summer.