Snow has piled up outside, slowing construction of the city's new water park, Chilli Bay. However, as of yet, the project is running generally on schedule and crews anticipate adding Fridays into their work scheduled to make up for lost time due to inclement weather.

The contractor on the project, 2-Point Construction Company, updated Chillicothe City Council members on the progress Monday evening, stating that the quality of the project is excellent, the costs are in line with the budget and the time frame is generally as expected.

Crews have starting laying tile in the bath house, and a structure to the north of the building has been built.

The goal, as of Monday, was to have all of the concrete for the pool areas poured by the end of next week. The concrete would then cure for 28 days before being painted.

Janice Shaffer, recently hired as the seasonal aquatics manager for Chilli Bay, was present at Monday night's meeting and said she was pleased with the project's progress and the communication that has taken place with the contractor, noting that all those involved want things to go well for the community.

Council members had a brief open session agenda Monday evening after the Chilli Bay workshop, hearing annual service contract reports regarding Main Street Chillicothe, the University Extension Center, and Humane Society (animal shelter). Each entity thanked them for the city's past support and requested funding for the upcoming year. The city's fiscal year begins April 1 and its budget must be completed by that time.

Main Street Chillicothe: Director Crystal Narr presented a request to enter into a contract for services with the city for $30,000, in addition to the in-kind services provided by the parks department. She highlighted the progress Main Street Chillicothe continues to make, noting that the local organization was chosen to present at the National Main Street conference for this year, and that the local organization is considered a role model for other Missouri downtowns. She also talked about the beautification efforts in downtown, with the flower pots, banners, facades and Christmas lights, as well as the positive responses from businesses participating in various downtown events, including Tunes under the Moon, BooFest and Dog Daze.

Although mentioning the past events, she focused on the future.

"Downtown is one of Chillicothe's primary assets not only when it comes to economic development, but when it comes to tourism and setting our community apart from the rest in northwest Missouri," she said. "Downtown is a visible indicator of our community's economic vitality 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year."

The city's contract dollar amount last year was $26,000, and was combined with in-kind labor by the parks department.

She also noted that the flower baskets and planters which are placed in front of downtown businesses remained vibrant, thanks in part to a program through which offenders at Chillicothe Correctional Center helped keep the planters watered.
University of Missouri Extension: Kevin Hansen, program director for the University of Missouri Extension in Livingston County, asked the city to consider budgeting $5,000 for the extension. The city approved $4,000 last year. Hansen talked about some of the programs offered through University Extension and how they reach a broad spectrum of the community.

Humane Society (animal shelter): Shelter guardian Leslie Patek reported on last year's activities, and requested funding from the city in the same amount as last year, $67,000. Patek, accompanied to the meeting by the local Humane Society's board president and treasurer, noted that fewer animals had to be put down last year than in previous years.

Patek said rescue efforts, through which dogs and cats are sent to animal rescue organizations, have helped keep the animals numbers down. She noted that just the previous week, 30 animals were sent to rescues. In her report to the council, Patek said that were 413 dogs that came into the shelter. Of that number, there were 235 rescues, 59 that were adopted, 98 that were returned to their owners, and 83 euthanized. She also said that the shelter had received 301 cats. Of that number, 12 were returned to their owners, 143 were adopted, and 134 euthanized.

People dumping unwanted animals continues to be a big problem, Patek said. She also said that the Puppies for Parole program has made a positive impact on the shelter. The program puts inmates from correctional institutions in the role of trainers for dogs from the animal shelter. Once the dogs complete the program, they are returned to the shelter for the possibility of adoption. The dogs, by possessing basic skills, become more likely to be adopted.