Perry Park Center to hold 25th anniversary


A staple of the Perryville community will be having an anniversary this summer.
The Perry Park Center will have its 25th anniversary in May of this year.
Perryville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Cadwell said that the anniversary itself is on May 15, where there will be a ribbon cutting, but that will not be the date for the actual celebration.
“In May and June there are just a bunch of activities going on with graduations and other things,” Cadwell said. “Instead of cramming it around everything else, along with kids being in school, we decided to do all the activities in July during Parks and Recreation Month.”
Cadwell said the activities are not yet determined, but some of the ideas included a Donut Dash, a dog-look-a-like contest, a Pajama Day, and other activities.

In 1996, a study was conducted to determine the feasibility of constructing a county multi-purpose center for the use and benefit of the residents of Perry County, Missouri. The intent was to provide the citizens an opportunity to enjoy the individual and group development that occurs with performing arts, athletic, fitness and personal enrichment that a facility of this type affords the citizens. The initial concept proposed utilizing the City of Perryville park site and existing outdoor pool as a starting point around which to develop the facility.
On November 5, 1996, voters in the county approved the imposition of a local parks sales tax of ½ of 1% for a period of 20 years. After the period of 20 years or upon retirement of the debt, 3/8 of 1% of such sales tax will be repealed. The county began imposing the local park sales tax on May 1, 1997. The county has agreed to remit 1/8 cent of the local parks sales tax to the City each month to be used for operation and maintenance of the facility.
Construction began in November of 1997. During the construction of the facility a contest was held to name the facility. Opening day of the Perry Park Center was May 15, 1999. Operation of the center is funded through membership fees, program fees, special events, the 1/8 cent local park sales tax and the City of Perryville general fund.
The 105,000 square foot Perry Park Center include an enclosed year-round aquatics center, gymnasium, racquetball courts, a meeting room, a free weight room, a cardiovascular room, an elevated walking / jogging track and a performing arts center which offers first-run motion pictures and periodic live theatrical productions. The Park Center also houses the Perryville branch of the Riverside Regional Library.
The community voted to renew the tax in 2016, which has led to several major upgrades to the facility. Cadwell said that the Park Center is a vital part of Perryville.
“It’s rare for a town the size of Perryville to have a facility of this size,” he said. The Park Center is just a great place to visit for those who come in from out of town, and even those who live here. This building is a big part of the parks system here.”