Marble Falls parks see low crime; Johnson Park gets statewide honor

After three years of trying, Johnson Park in Marble Falls is receiving a Lone Star Legacy Park designation from the Texas Recreation and Park Society. Staff photo by David Bean

After three years of trying, Johnson Park in Marble Falls is receiving a Lone Star Legacy Park designation from the Texas Recreation and Park Society. Staff photo by David Bean

JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

MARBLE FALLS — Crime in the city parks doesn’t appear to be an overwhelming problem, according to a Marble Falls Police Department report.

Marble Falls Police Chief Mark Whitacre presented an incidents report of three parks to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission on Feb. 1.

Whitacre examined calls for Lakeside Park, Johnson Park and Westside Park for the 2014 and 2015 calendar years.

In all, the three parks had 147 service calls with Johnson Park leading the way with 78. Lakeside Park had 57, and Westside Park had 12.

Whitacre’s report included what types of incidents police officers checked out, ranging from broken water lines, suspicious activity, lost property and requests for assistance.

Many calls at Johnson Park involved breaking curfew. All parks close at midnight and reopen at 6 a.m. Some involve traffic violations.

Whitacre said some calls involved narcotics, but overall, he was encouraged by two facts.

The first is officers keep a high profile at the parks, which he believes encourages parkgoers to treat each other respectfully.

“We live in a great community, and we have good officers,” he said. “They keep an eye on who enjoys our parks.”

And second people haven’t hesitated to contact police if something doesn’t look right to them.

“Our citizens will let us know,” Whitacre said.

In other news, Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said he received confirmation Feb. 1 that Johnson Park will receive a Lone Star Legacy Park designation. Commissioners and staff members have submitted information about the park to the Texas Recreation and Park Society each of the past three years. The data included a history of the park, a storybook of the park, photos, testimonials and other criteria such as conservation.

A Lone Star Legacy Park, according to the Texas Recreation and Park Society website (traps.org), is one holding “special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas. These parks have endured the test of time and have become iconic to those who have visited, played and rested on their grounds.”

Johnson Park is one of 29 in the state receiving that honor.

“It recognizes the treasure we have for people who don’t live here,” Moss said. “It’s something that further highlights the treasure of the community. (Johnson Park) may be the first impression (visitors) get (of the city).”

Commissioner Steve Manley brought the Legacy Award to the attention of the commission three years ago.

“I’m very, very pleased,” he said. “This goes to show what happens when the parks board flexes its muscle. Johnson Park is very deserving. It definitely ranks high with the other 29 parks. It’s definitely a high honor.”

Moss said he will attend the TRAPS meeting later this month and will have more at the next regular commissioners meeting March 7.

Commissioners also:

  • discussed possible sites for the Mike Fry Memorial. Fry was killed while competing in the LakeFest drag boat races in August 2015.
  • received an update on Spring Break 2016 activities. Moss said the only activity that will not be at Westside Park is movie day. The department will show the movie at Lakeside Pavilion. Spring Break is March 14-18. Commissioners will be given a finalized schedule during their regular meeting March 7.
  • were told Lower Colorado River Authority employees will be hosting a city-wide clean-up April 1 and asked the department to help spread the word in the hopes residents will join them. Moss also asked the commissioners to consider joining Keep Texas Beautiful, an organization specializing in picking up litter and other eyesores throughout cities. Commissioners will revisit this topic at a later date.
  • thanked outgoing Commissioner Josh Price for his service. Price said he did not seek reappointment because he felt called to help his property owner’s association.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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