The arch in Simpson Park is staying put. In agreement with a prior 4-1 decision by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Chillicothe City Council unanimously voted last night (Monday) to keep the arch as a permanent fixture of the park.

The arch in Simpson Park is staying put. In agreement with a prior 4-1 decision by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Chillicothe City Council unanimously voted last night (Monday) to keep the arch as a permanent fixture of the park.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board first discussed the idea of an archway on March 19, 2012. The arch would be used as part of the Festival of Lights event during the holiday season. According to Advisory Board Member Karen Dixon, the arch was never meant to be permanent.
"Our assumption was that it was to be taken down," Dixon said. "The original agreement with Festival of Lights was that anything put up by them would be taken down after the festival was over."
Festival of Lights Coordinator Barb Burton also mentioned the original intent was for the arch to be erected and removed each holiday season. She said those plans changed due to the difficulty of constructing the arch.
"When we wanted to put the arch up, we thought we would be taking it down," Burton explained. "As we put it up, realized how deep in the ground the concrete went and how much work it took to make it especially secure and safe, we realized it needed to stay up."
Dixon said, in her opinion, the arch does not fit with the brick pillars at the Walnut Street entrance to the park. She believes adding too much "stuff" damages the simplistic beauty of the park. Wayne Cunningham, Councilman 2nd Ward, agrees. Cunningham said he voted in agreement with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, but that vote was against his personal beliefs.
"I'm seeing a park that was beautiful, that was simple," Cunningham said. "Now we've gone to the point where we're putting arches in it. We've got signs out on the highway saying 'Turn here to go to Chilli Bay and play.' It's turned into a commercial type of thing that I don't think was ever the intent of the people that donated that land."
Simpson Park was at the core of two other discussion topics at Monday night's meeting. Randy Hager, representing Boy Scouts of America Troop 120, appeared before the council to gain support for a proposed Eagle Scout project. The project, which would be designed and built by Eagle Scout candidate Keaton Reagan, is to create a structure at the park with the capacity to dispose of American and state flags in a proper manner, which is by fire. The structure would be located near adequate parking and would be available for public use.
"We feel that this project would allow the citizens of Chillicothe to exercise their patriotic freedoms and duties in the appropriate and respectful retirement of Old Glory," Hager said.
City Administrator Ike Holland gave his recommendation of approval for the project, and stated Parks and Recreation Director Josh Norris and Fire Chief Darrell Wright have both given previous recommendation for this project, as well. Holland recommended a 24-48 hour notice prior to any group wanting to use the structure for a flag disposal ceremony. The council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance for this project.
Jason Benson, general manager of the Simply Achieving Life's Triumphs (SALT) organization, appeared in front of the board seeking their approval for a fundraising event at the new Chilli Bay Water Park facility in Simpson Park. Benson said the event would give area adults, ages 20 and older, the opportunity to enjoy the new aquatic center while raising funds for the SALT Center.
The council voted to approve the use of Chilli Bay for a SALT organization fundraiser on July 27. The event would be classified as a private event. The city would charge SALT $250 to rent the water park for two hours after regular weekend hours. The $250 would pay for up to 50 attendees, up to 17 lifeguards and other operational fees during that time. Any additional attendee over the 50 allowed in the $250 would come at a cost of $3 per person to the SALT organization. After those expenses are paid to the city, all additional funds raised at the event would be kept by the SALT organization.
The council voted to amend two development contracts at Monday's meeting. The first contract, with JE Dunn Construction Company for the development of the new Hedrick Medical Center, was amended to change some of the language in the agreement. The amendment would document the initial fee, general conditions and contingency amounts for both Component One, the new Hedrick Medical Center, and Component Two, the Medical Office Building. The amendment would not affect the approved contract value, and would come at no additional cost to the City.
The second contract is a Joint Development Agreement between the City of Chillicothe and Foutch Brothers, LLC. The agreement serves to develop the old Missouri women's prison, located on Third Street, into residential housing. The amendments approved during Monday's meeting would limit the total amount of expenditures used to remove buildings and maintain property at the site to a total of $50,000. This is up from the original amount of $20,000. These funds come from the $1 million the city had allocated for development of the site over a four-year period.
The second amendment of the Foutch Brothers agreement deals with the financial commitment of Foutch Brothers to the project. The original agreement stated if the 353 Redevelopment Plan is approved, then Foutch agrees to provide a firm financial commitment for the project within nine months of the approval date. The amendment would give Foutch Brothers 12 months from the approval date to provide a financial commitment.
During the executive session, the council voted 4-0 to approve the hiring of seven paid-by-call firefighters. Paul Howard abstained from the discussion and vote due to his relation to one of the potential hires. The seven new firefighters include Erick Blake Rasmussen, Tyler Monier, Michael Lamp, Patrik Stufflebean, Hershel B. Davis, John Zachary Parks and Zachary Ireland.