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COTTONWOOD SHORES — City leaders have given the go-ahead for a new city park off Cottonwood Drive behind the Public Library. The move came at Thursday’s regular meeting, where officials also approved an extensive road-maintenance and drainage improvement plan by Public Works Manager George Perry.

Parks Commission member Marley Porter — who is also the architect behind the nearby CastleRock community — gave a presentation on the new play area, dubbed “Community Park.”

Porter said the new park, which is funded through grants from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will include a large pavilion, a water-play area and an amphitheater.

Porter said he re-worked his earlier plans for Community Park based on concerns from council and Parks Commission members.

“The new plan now has a large area with a flat grassy space for a playground,” Porter told the council.

He also followed up on a request from parks commissioners to change the filling of a so-called “play pit” from sand to cedar chips.

“There were concerns that having sand would attract feral cats,” Porter said, adding there were fears the pit would become a litterbox.

The new park also includes a rain-collection   system able to store up to 8,000 square feet of water that will be used to power the water-play area, Porter said. The park also will have two large “bio-retention” ponds that will include oil-consuming plants, he said.

“That way, the water will be cleaner when it soaks back into the aquifer,” he said.

The council unanimously approved the park design.

Also Thursday, the council approved Perry’s plan for phased improvements to city streets.

Perry said the project will include work on drainage ditches near the road, along with some resurfacing work designed to keep water flowing from the roadway and into the ditches.

“We have a motor-grader now, and because of that, this will go much faster,” he said, adding the grader can be used to repair roads and dig ditches necessary for drainage.

Councilman Deavon DeLancey said most of the city’s road problems — including potholes, bumps and cracks — are connected to the deteriorating drainage system, which leaves some parts of the city a swamp during heavy rains.

“I think if we can fix the roads, until we can pave them, that’s what’s going to need to happen,” he said.

Perry had a loftier goal.

“I want you to be able to drive down the road holding a cup of coffee and not have it spill all over you,” he said.

During the project, which is expected to begin on the city’s northeast side, Perry said some residents may be asked to upgrade to 12-inch culverts to facilitate drainage.

Currently, some homes have only 2- to 4-inch culverts, which can lead to a backup of water during heavy storms, Perry said.

In other action, the council approved a $145,000 grant-funded plan to lay a series of trails around the city connecting city parks.

Council members also called an election for May 8. Seats held by DeLancey, Councilman Frank Chavez and Councilwoman Martha Logan are up for grabs.

The next council meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Public Library, 4111 Cottonwood Drive.