Forest Park will soon have another feature.
Jim Zaleski, economic development director, told Parsons city commissioners during a Thursday work session that the city plans to install two sets of permanent cornhole boards made of granite or some other stone. The boards will be fixed to two 8-foot by 60-foot concrete slabs between a Forest Park softball field and an adjacent shelter house.
Zaleski said he found some stone cornhole boards online, with the cheapest costing $1,500. He hopes to find a local source that will sell boards at a lower cost.
Usually, cornhole boards are wooden and easily portable. The game is played by tossing small beanbags at the inclined boards, with the goal of landing the bags in a hole on the boards. Zaleski thinks that having a permanent setup would encourage more people to play who don’t have their own boards, and it would hopefully get more people outside.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Zaleski said, there has been a resurgence in outdoor sports such as disc golf and cornhole. Such games can be played more safely because they allow for social distancing, and it’s safer to be among other people outside during a dangerous virus outbreak than inside.
“It’s a game that can be played, and it also enhances getting people outdoors, so that’s a double win for us,” he said.
Zaleski cited a Parsons Sun article published on April 2 about three local cornhole professionals — John Fuentez, Adrian Knapper and Kyle Hutley — as well as 12-year-old “phenom” Alex Hicks, who plans to turn pro soon.
“We really have some great players that are making their way on the national level here locally,” Zaleski said.
About 40 to 50 throwers compete in pickup games at the VFW post every week, Zaleski said.
Zaleski said he knows of no other parks with permanent cornhole boards.
“It will be kind of unique to Parsons,” Zaleski said.
There will be room for five and possibly six more sets of boards that could be added later. Zaleski said that would allow an outdoor cornhole league or tournaments. The tournaments could be tied to the annual Katy Days festival.
Zaleski said the city will bid out the concrete slabs together with another concrete slab that will be used to place a bench in Forest Park at the Boy Scout honor walk. The walk has engraved pavers that were sold to the public to honor loved ones. A family donated a memorial bench in honor of a deceased relative.
In other business Thursday, City Manager Debbie Lamb showed commissioners the courtesy cards that the Parsons Police Department will begin handing out to drivers who are in violation of an ordinance that makes it illegal for vehicles to extend onto Main Street when parked in the downtown area.
“I think we’re doing better, but we still have a few. People seem to be looking at the signs and parking elsewhere, but we do still have some,” Lamb said.
Eventually, the police could begin ticketing drivers in violation of the ordinance.
Lamb also told commissioners that free spring cleanup days are scheduled for May 1 and May 8. On those days, Parsons residents can dump off unwanted items at the former city dump east of the trash transfer station.
Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks reported that the police department’s new tracking and narcotics dog, Karim, and his handler Cpl. Kyle Shields returned from training in Arkansas on Thursday. The dog has received national certification.