JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — On a sunny Saturday, a handful of couples sat on blankets across Johnson Park to enjoy a Valentine’s Day picnic.
The scene is not unusual to Robert Moss, the director of the Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Department.
“There are pecan trees that provide shade, the grass is well maintained and soft,” he said. “If people are looking for a place to go to, sit outside and relax, that’s where they’re going.”
It also didn’t surprise Moss that Johnson Park was voted the Marble Falls area’s favorite park by The Picayune readers in the Locals Love Us awards. After all, it’s the place for the city’s biggest events such as Howdy-Roo, Mayfest and LakeFest’s Show & Shine and concert.
Johnson Park is a local favorite for softball tournaments, birthday parties, family reunions and barbecues because of the numerous picnic tables and grills, its two playgrounds and its location next to Backbone Creek.
“Really, an empty park is not of much value,” Moss said. “I would rather deal with a park that’s overloaded instead of one that’s not used.”
Both types of parks require work and maintenance, he said. The reward, however, is going to the park and smelling the food that’s being cooked on the barbecue pits, hearing children laugh as they come down the slide and seeing the balloons in celebrations at picnic tables.
One factor that helps the park is its location on Avenue J, no more than a mile from U.S. 281.
“The big thing about Johnson Park is it’s been here since the beginning of Marble Falls,” Moss said. “When people visit, it’s one of the places they end up going to. They are exposed to Johnson Park.”
In 2014, Johnson Park drew 25,000 visitors with 18,000 attending the festivals held at the park and another 7,000 who participated in private parties.
That doesn’t count the parents who take their children to the park for an hour of recreation or the friends who meet to simply play a game of shirts or skins. Knowing families are using the park to make happy memories brings a smile to Moss’ face.
“Any day the weather is not absolutely horrible, you’ll see people in Johnson Park,” he said. “They’re always having fun.”