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story.lead_photo.caption The sun shines Tuesday over the baseball fields at Binder Park. The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the possibility of purchasing new scoreboards for Binder and Optimist Parks. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission gave its approval Tuesday for the Ellis-Porter Riverside botanical garden master plan.

Parks Department Director Todd Spalding presented the final version of the master plan to the commission in December.

The large-scale, multi-million dollar project is laid out in a 156-page plan created by Arbolope Studio, a St. Louis-based landscape architecture, urban design and public art practice, in collaboration with The Architects Alliance.

The botanical garden concept was developed as a partnership between the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department and the Central Missouri Master Gardeners.

Spalding said the Master Gardeners are also presenting the plan to their board for approval.

The approval of the master plan does not move any actions forward or commit any money to the project, which has an estimated total price tag of approximately $8.9 million over several phases.

Spalding said gaining approval of the plan gives parks staff a direction to move forward.

"If I have a clear direction from you guys that approves this plan moving forward, I can really get into the details of what our next steps are and how we can fund some of these things, especially phase one," Spalding said.

Phase one of the project includes renovation of the existing Caretaker's House and establishes the gardens in that area. Eventually, the plan spreads the gardens and other elements throughout Ellis-Porter Riverside Park.

In other business, the commission accepted a bid for the purchase and installation for seven new scoreboards at city park baseball and softball fields.

The $42,023 bid from Greenville, Illinois-based Nevco Sports includes two new scoreboards for the Kutscher and Evening Optimist fields at the Optimist Sports Complex and five scoreboards at Binder Sports Complex for the Kremer, Williams, Wisch, Scott and Byrd fields.

Nevco Sports was the second-lowest bidder on the project, with St. Peters, Missouri-based Classic Sign services coming in with a lower bid of $38,931. However, Assistant Parks Director JJ Gates said they chose Nevco Sports because of the product they were offering.

Nevco Sports boards are also in use at the 63 Diamonds Complex which JC Parks purchased in January 2020.

The funds will come from the department's Capital Improvement Program, which has a Fiscal Year 2021 budget of $250,000.

Gates said the boards will be operated by hand-held controllers.

Assistant Parks Director Aaron Grefrath said the scoreboards will be available for use for tournaments and other events at the facilities.

"We will actively try to promote them and use them as much as possible," Grefrath said.

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