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The Springfield-Greene County Park Board officially opened a new park today in West Springfield. KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.
With the ringing of the bells, the Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park in West Springfield officially opened today. The 207-acre park is the first of its kind in the area. Features include a visitors' center, gift shop and offices as well as a domestic animal barn, veterinarian office, chicken coop and a one-mile greenways trail.
The 2.6 million dollar Park, funded thru the quarter-cent parks sales tax approved by voters in 2001, offers hayrides, domestic animals including sheep, cows, pigs and horses and a fishing pond. In the works are community gardens, a milk barn, picnic and pavilion areas and a farm-themed playground. The park also offers a variety of educational programs.
In fact, Springfield- Greene County Park Board director Jodie Adams says it will be one of the main elements of the park board's education component.
A variety of programs on agriculture, horticulture and life on the farm will be offered there.
Greene County Commissioner Dave Coonrod says the Rutledge-Wilson Farm pays tribute to the area's agricultural heritage.
The MO Conservation Department played a role in developing the park. Kara Tvedt, fisheries management biologist, says the park provides an opportunity to teach people about using the land responsibly.
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board looked at around 20 farm parks across the country when deciding what this one should contain. Based on what they saw, Jodie Adams says the Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park should help tourism in the area.
During the grand opening event, visitors were offered tastes of desserts cooked in dutch ovens over coals and got the chance to try their hand at "milking" a cow—though not a real one.
The Farm Park will host "Christmas at the Farm" thru December 31st featuring live Christmas music, hayrides, photos with Santa, Barnyard Bingo, story hours and more. For a complete schedule of events, go to parkboard.org.