JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — Residents will be asked to participate in a survey to better help administrators, council members and the Parks and Recreation Department prioritize projects, needs and wants for recreation in Marble Falls.
Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss told the Parks and Recreation Commission during its regular meeting May 4 he hopes to get the surveys completed and to residents in early June.
“I’ll try to get your help in trying to get the survey out,” Moss said. “We need to go out and contact people. Go out and hand people a card at (sports) fields on the weekend.”
Moss said the survey will not only look at opportunities for youth, but it also will examine possibilities for adults and senior citizens.
The survey also could help staff determine the city’s role in how much its staff does with youth leagues, Moss said, noting that city hall conducts the Spring Break activities and plays a big role in the summer aquatics program because of the use of the city pool.
“Basically, where we are is we are trying to see what the community wants and needs and what they’re willing to support,” he said.
Commission chairman David Rhodes expressed caution on handing out surveys at playing fields because not every family that plays for local youth sports leagues lives in Marble Falls.
While that’s true, Moss said, the data shows up to 60 percent of the sales tax in the city comes from people who do not live in Marble Falls.
“That argument can be made a lot of ways,” Rhodes said. “(As a Marble Falls resident), I don’t want people (who don’t live here) voting to make me spend money. I’d rather it be because we (as Marble Falls residents) chose to. I think a relevant question is if you don’t live in Marble Falls, would you be willing to pay a usage fee? Say $5 to $10?”
Commissioner Steve Manley said he believes there are strong recreation needs in Marble Falls. His concern, however, is the funding that’s available to address them. Moss acknowledged that continues to be a consideration for staff.
Both the director and the commissioners said that if residents weren’t asked to pay higher taxes, they would be on board with projects such as a water park, finishing other stages of the hike-and-bike trail system and a sports complex.
City Manager Mike Hodge asked the commissioners to consider this instead: “What if the city had recreational opportunities? What would we do with them?”
He used the city pool as an example as a facility that allows people to swim and enjoy themselves during summer afternoons when it’s open. But in the mornings, the city’s swim team has practices, and residents can rent the pool during non-operational hours for private parties. And since staff entered into a contract with the YMCA of the Highland Lakes at Galloway-Hammond in Burnet, the YMCA will offer water exercise classes.
“People have said, ‘build it, and they will come.’ We’re not in the economic environment to do that anymore,” Moss said. “If we can get basic information to provide for the comprehensive plan, that would be helpful.”
He said residents will have until June 30 to complete the survey, which will be on the city’s website at www.ci.marble-falls.tx.us. Commissioner Leta Stevenson-Smith suggested having a computer at city hall that allows residents to fill out the survey electronically if they don’t have Internet access elsewhere.
The commissioners also:
• voted to give Moss the authority to accept monetary donations from residents who may want to honor their pets by paying for granite benches and a covered pavilion at the city’s leash-free areas. Moss also was given the authority to accept volunteer help from those who want to physically install the benches and pavilion.
• voted to participate in a special workshop May 20 at 5:30 p.m. to decide on a name for the city’s dog park. The workshop, which is open to the public, will be at the council chamber, 800 Third St. Moss said he has received 40 emails, and residents can still submit a recommendation and the reason for why they’re nominating that individual. The deadline is May 12. Email Moss at email@example.com with a recommendation.