Columbia Parks and Recreation
Creating Community through People, Parks and Programs
In 1984, Columbia Cosmopolitan Luncheon Club agreed to donate up to $15,000 per year for five years to develop a playground and other needed improvements. In honor of the Cosmo Club's contribution, the City renamed the park as Cosmo-Bethel Park. In the early fall of 1984, the first large piece of play equipment was installed. In the following years, more equipment and improvements were added including wood deck and sandbox, concrete walkways, gazebo, benches, slides and net climber. Volunteers from the Cosmo Club assisted in erecting the playground and planted hundreds of trees in the park.
On October 15th, 1989, the playground was dedicated as Grover L. Hawkins Memorial Playground. Hawkins, 1920 - 1984, was a former president of the Cosmo Luncheon Club and a former member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. He was active in the planning and development of many recreational facilities for our community.
In 1990, a sand volleyball court was constructed and a baseball backstop for the new multi-purpose play field was constructed in 1993.
In August 1997, existing Cosmo-Bethel park shelters
were dedicated in honor of three Cosmo Club members
Dr. Charles A. Leech, Clarence Riechmann, and J.
See 1997 dedication program.
The City entered into an agreement with the School District in early 2001 to jointly construct a tennis complex. The project included the construction of eight tennis courts, a small shelter, walkways, a drinking fountain and landscaping. Four courts were constructed in Cosmo-Bethel Park and four courts were built on Gentry Middle School property.
The court layout was designed to achieve an efficient use of the space and to provide an attractive tennis complex for public and school use. All courts are asphalt and all courts are lighted. The total project cost of $398,978 was funded equally between the City and the School District. The Mid Missouri Tennis Association donated windscreens. Landscaping was designed and planted by Parks and Recreation. A dedication ceremony was held May 15, 2002.
Click here for Information regarding capital improvement projects from 2007 onward. Cosmo-Bethel Park was rededicated in 2008 in recognition of major renovations completed in 2007 and 2008. (See link below for more information.)