Third-graders offer thanks, suggestions for Marble Falls parks at commission meeting

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commission heard from the smallest stature of citizens during its regular monthly meeting June 2.

Commissioner Mark McCary presented the commission with a stack of notes he received from third-graders at Marble Falls Elementary School. McCary was invited to the campus and took the time to ask the students their thoughts on the city’s parks.

So in their thank-you notes, the third-graders highlighted their favorite parts of the parks, which included:

  • playground equipment at Johnson and Westside parks
  • the new slide and diving board at the city pool
  • the trails at Johnson and Westside parks

The students also had some suggestions for additions, including a see-saw and a cover to shade the basketball court at Westside Park.

One student wrote, “Thank you for cleaning the parks and pool, for the slide and for fixing the diving board.”

“That makes what we do worthwhile,” chairman Dave Rhodes said.

Commissioners also were given an update on the Mormon Mill/Parkview proposal.

They reviewed what homeowners in that area requested, which included a walking trail, benches and a parking area. The trail and parking area simply can be gravel.

Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said the second phase of the proposal is to tie the trails there to the existing trail system in Johnson and Westside parks.

The 2,500 feet of trails at $25 a foot equals $60,000.

Rhodes asked if the department would consider simply blading a trail to give the Mormon Mill/Parkview residents something they can use.

“We have guidelines we have to follow,” Moss said. “That would be development, drainage. People have an expectation that it’s done right. We have to do it right to make it safe.”

Commissioner Steve Manley asked if some sort of water fountain or pond could be installed there to help beautify the park.

Moss said after heavy rain, such as that during Memorial Day weekend, a water hole forms. That usually leads to a place for mosquitos to camp out. The feedback the department has received from residents, he added, didn’t include a water fountain.

“The only time it holds water is during an extended wet period and during the cold season,” Moss said. “Any development we do is going to cost. It’s not free. It adds up pretty quick. The demographics have changed up there. There are younger families up there looking for leisure time. I think if we do minimal development up there, it’s money well spent.”

The commissioners voted to move forward with incorporating Falls Creek Park into Johnson Park and renaming the Marble Falls Skatepark the Tony Hogue Skatepark after the former mayor and city council member. Currently, the skatepark is part of Falls Creek Park.

The two measures still have to be approved by the city council.

“I’ve had this rolling around in my mind for a year,” Moss said. “There’s no official naming of Falls Creek. Those two parks act as one.”

Moss said he attended Hogue’s funeral and was moved by what he heard about the man’s contributions to the city.

“He was one of the individuals brave enough to say we needed a skate park,” the director said. “It wasn’t really popular at first, but he kept the idea alive.”

“I like the idea of naming facilities after someone,” Commissioner Charles Watkins said.

The commissioners also:

  • received a report from Development Services Director Caleb Kraenzel regarding way-finding signs that will be used in different parts of the city to show visitors when they’ve arrived in the city, give directions, the names of parks and facilities and other uses. Kraenzel said he plans to give the council an update later this summer;
  • were reminded about the budget retreat for staff members and council, which is open to the public, at Lakeside Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 10;
  • were told the Capital Improvement Projects money of $100,000 was spent: 22,132.98 to the heating, venting and air-conditioning upgrade and audio/visual replacement at Lakeside Pavilion; $9,674.41 to the hike-and-bike trail; $66,788.63 to the city pool; and $1,403.98 for a portable fence at Johnson Park softball field;
  • were told the city pool will be open to the public beginning June 6 from noon to 6 p.m. New daily admission fees are $4 for adults and teens and $2.50 for children. Go to http://ci.marble-falls.tx.us/lakeside-park-swimming-pool for more information.

jfierro@thepicayune.com