August 13, 2020

Celebrating the Coolest Local Stuff

A Beautifuil New Pond on the Parkway? Why Not?

By Jay Kerner 

I’m lousy at sitting on stuff.  If I know something, I wanna share it.  But I’ve been sitting on the double-dog, super-duperest idea, ever to come from my fevered dome, for a couple months now.  (Kidding.  No fever.) 

Seriously, I think this is a good one!  Hope you agree. 

I want to gift the city a new pond, along the Parkway.   

Wood bench overlooking pond

Let me explain: 

The Queen and I have purchased a little property that came with a parcel of low ground.  The house is up on the hill, but the majority of the land runs along Whitehead Creek, straight across from the Rec Center, on the Parkway. 

As we looked at our new purchase, we understood why nothing could be built on our lower ground.  The creek rarely floods, but it has and it will again.   

But that water runs year round.  The city has dealt with it for generations with tunnels and bridges we seldom take notice of, as it winds its’ way across town toward the river. 

I saw that water and like the eager beaver, thought “Dam!”   

Figured we’d dig us out a pretty shore line and let’r fill up. 

Great idea, but the city would own the other side of my pond.  That wouldn’t work.  

Then it occurred to me; we could donate the land to the city, and let them put in the pond!  They already own the other side.  They can own the whole thing as a simple extension of the Parkway. 

Krug Lagoon and Corby Pond are among our most treasured local features. 

Now, imagine another, but with no acquisition cost!  Visible to Parkway travelers in either direction.  Plenty of ready parking.  Public fishing in a freshwater pond, constantly flushed with good clear water.  It’s a ready-made park with a beautiful setting! 

So, I’ve got my idea.  Started making a list of every person or entity I knew that could try to stop me.   

Hmmm, maybe the people downstream might object.  Well, guess who the next property owner is?  It’s my buddy, Councilman Spanky O’Dell.  Tell him my idea, and he’s all about it.  Says if I can pull it off, he’d donate land, too.  Holy Crap!  His ground has even more creek frontage than mine!  If they want to, they could have a pond even larger than Corby!  It could run from 28th Street, all the way past the Phil Welch parking area!  We’re talking really, really big. 

But no matter the size, the main hurdle, potentially, is the Parks Department.  I’ve been warned by several people who should know, that they are highly reluctant to take on additional property to maintain.  I get it.  But this isn’t just some awkward piece of ground I’m wanting rid of.  This is a rare opportunity to drastically add to our local amenities at a bargain basement price.  I crossed my fingers and made the call. 

I know Director Chuck Kempf a little bit, and figured he’d at least hear me out.  He did.   

And he liked it, too! 

He told me about their working with the Missouri Dept. of Conservation on the renewal of Krug Lagoon.  Also about their upcoming work on Corby Pond which I was unaware of.  Chuck seems to think the Conservation folks might like this project as well! 

We’re just starting the discussions, really.  It’s far from a done deal, but the biggest obstacles so far, haven’t proved to be much. 

So, this could really happen!  No reason for it not to. 

Chuck did give me a little grief.  Asked me if we had to call it “Kerner Pond.”  No way, Jose! 

He said he didn’t know how “Spanky Pond” would go over either.   

I suggested “Regular Joe Pond.”  He assumed in reference to our Regular Joe paper.  Nope. 

I think about it like this: Krug Lagoon, donated by a rich guy.  Corby Pond, another rich guy.  Love ‘em! No greater asset a city can have than benevolent rich guys.   

But “regular” guys can help shape our city, too!  In ways too many to count.  By voting.  By volunteering.  By investing in your property and encouraging your neighbors to do the same. 

By seeing what needs done and seeing that it is.  By sharing your ideas and your energy.   

So I don’t need my name on it.  Spank doesn’t need his either.  And let me be clear!  Neither of us gets a dime out of this deal.  This isn’t any kind of backroom scheme.  It’s a front room scheme!  All we get is a view of it from our property! 

We hope you like this idea and you get where we’re coming from.  There’s always a few haters, ready to jump on anything you put out there.  Suspicious minds, assuming everybody has their fingers in the kitty, somehow.  But we expect people to dig it! 

St. Joseph families have loved our water features here, almost as long as the place has had a name.  Now, imagine another, set beautifully against the wooded hillside.  A little dock.  A little waterfall maybe, at the downstream side.  Ducks.  Kids fishing.  Lovers strolling hand in hand.  And hey, who’s that old guy up there on the deck?  See him up there with your binoculars?  Asleep in the hammock with a beer in his hand?  That’ll be Spank! 

Grateful for the likes, shares and comments.  Bottom line: This will happen if the public wants it to happen.  We can use all the help we can get!