Sidney (Sid) Needem in photo
Springfield, MO—Sidney (Sid) Needem, a Springfield native, was born 1945. He attended Lincoln School in Springfield, MO grades 1-3, Fairbanks grade 4-5. He attended Simmons School in St. Louis, MO, grade 5-8 and graduated from Vashawn High School also in St. Louis, MO. He went on to work at Kraft Foods for 47 years.
Needem is a member of the Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church, and over the years has served as Finance Chair, Lay Leader, Admistrative Chair Person, Soft Ball Coach and Usher Board.
Needen is the only 3-Term Board Member in the 106 -Year History of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Serving Terms from 1994 – 1999, 2006 -2012, and 2015 – to the present.
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board operates and maintains more than 100 park sites, trails and facilities in Springfield and unincorporated Greene County, ranging from neighborhood playgrounds to multi-use recreation centers. The system includes three golf courses, three family centers, a zoo, a farm park, a botanical center, several sports/athletic complexes, two indoor aquatic centers, six outdoor swimming pools, multiple School-Park sites and more than 100 miles of recreational trails.
During Sid’s terms of service, he was a part of a Park Board team that helped oversee a wide number of historically-significant developments that drove the park system forward. Most significant of these included the transition of the Springfield City Park System to an expanded City-County System (1995), the development and formal adoption of the Vision 20-20 Master Plan for Parks (1998) and the renewal of the popular Parks & Stormwater Sales Tax Initiative (2006) that generated over $55 million dollars for much-needed parks, trails and stormwater projects. Sid is the current Park Board Vice-Chair.
Springfield-Area Boys & Girls Club
Needem was a 42-Year Board Member for the Springfield-Area Boys & Girls Club. He helped facilitate partnership between the Club and Park Board to develop the Boys & Girls Club facilities in or Adjacent to City Park Sites. Needem was the first person of color as Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame Inductee and to serve as board chair in 2011.
Springfield Reunion Club
Needem is an active Board Member for Springfield Reunion Club and Annual Park Day Celebration at Silver Springs Park. Silver Springs Park is one of Springfield’s ten historic parks that was originally developed in 1918. The park is especially significant in that it was the only park available to the African-American community during the era of segregation. Since the early 1950’s, a group of active citizens known as “The Reunion Committee” have worked to develop and program a reunion-type of annual event in Silver Springs Park. Sid has been an extremely active part of this volunteer committee for over thirty years, even serving to chair its popular Bowling Tournament.
Springfield Community Center
In addition to his extensive volunteer roles noted above, Sid was a founding board member for the Springfield Community Center – a not-for-profit organization working to provide afterschool facilities and programs for urban youth.
Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center (BDNC)
Sid was a founding board member for the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center. BDNC is the former Kiddie Kove Daycare Center opened by Roberta Bartley—with her sister, Olive Decatur, who were both retired schoolteachers at Lincoln School.
Sid has also been a volunteer basketball coach to countless area youth teams through the years and now serves as an honorary coach and ambassador for the prestigious Bass Pro Shops’ Tournament of Champions event. In recent years, Sid also received the Heart of the Ozarks
Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind Award.
For his achievements and a lifetime of service to the Springfield community, Sid Needem was nominated and selected to receive the Missouri Park and Recreation Association (MPRA) Citation Award (Individual) in 2019.