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MARBLE FALLS — With talk of a coming hotel and conference center between Main Street and Lakeside Park, officials are eyeing what that means for city parks.

“It’s right in the heart of our parks system,” said Marble Falls Parks and Recreation director Robert Moss about the possible center. “There’s a potential for a huge change in conditions.”

But before they know exactly what that means for the parks, officials need a good look at those facilities. On April 5, the Marble Falls City Council approved spending up to $75,000 to update the city’s parks, recreation and open space plan. The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. has pledged $28,000 to the update, while the remaining $47,000 will come from the Capital Improvements Projects’ fund balance.

The city tapped Halff Associates, which is already working on the city’s comprehensive plan, to update the parks plan.

The plan will focus on Lakeside Park, Falls Creek Park, Johnson Park and the Hays addition on the park side.

“We want to have a more detailed plan of what we can do with these parks,” Moss said.

The last parks, recreation and open space plan was approved in January 2012. And while it’s still considered a timely plan, Moss said city staff wanted an update for a couple of reasons.

The first is that having an up-to-date plan puts the city in a better position to have grants allocated.

“Texas Parks and Wildlife requires one that’s not older than seven years,” Moss said.

But the possible hotel and conference center is a big driving reason for the update and revision. The proposed new center would sit right among several of the city’s parks, including Lakeside, Falls Creek and Johnson.

“We want both (the conference center and the parks system) to complement each other,” the director said. “We want to have a more detailed plan of what we can do with these parks.”

An updated plan would provide city leaders with a framework from which to build as well as a plan to get the parks where they best serve the community and visitors. Some of the features already found at the city’s parks include sand volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, playgrounds, outdoor pavilions and permanent barbecue grills and picnic tables with lots of open space to play games, toss a ball or throw a blanket on the grass for a picnic. So they don’t want to do anything that takes away from what’s already there, Moss said.

Another big concern for Moss is the pool at Lakeside Park. Built in the 1970s, the facility is costing thousands of dollars to repair and maintain. Those repairs and costs are quickly outpacing the viability of the pool. One of the benefits of a new hotel and conference center is it could serve as a driver for more property and sales tax revenue for the city. Some of these funds would go to infrastructure as well as parks.

Those new funds could also be used to build a new water park for the city, something that would draw residents and visitors alike.

So as the city officials continue talks about a new conference center and hotel, Moss said the Parks and Recreation Department is tasked with ensuring the balance of a modern facility located near what most visitors love about Marble Falls: the parks.

“We want to be ahead of the wave, ahead of development,” he said. “We’re considering everything. We want to make sure we’ve done a comprehensive look and considered all implications.”

And it all starts with a good plan.

Halff Associates will begin the parks work in May and finish in December. The city council is expected to accept the plan in January.

2 thoughts on “Marble Falls looks to improve parks with possible conference center

  1. The biggest tragedy in this is the spending of 75k to update a plan.. seems like every time I read about the council they are spending tax payer dollars on plans or unrealistic pet projects. And usually nothing actually gets done except the spending of money on the plans.

  2. How about you don’t get in the business of a water park.. Let’s leave that for private business. We see how you did with the rental of the building to the car manufacturer. Thousands for repairs for pools, oh no, that’s too high. Let’s spend 5 million on a new pool. That’s much cheaper. Oh, and by the way, we let the old pool go into disrepair but this new bigger one will be great!!! If you can’t take care of that one why would we believe you can take care of a nicer one? Just what we need more traffic in town.. We have 3rd world roads but hey time for a new pool and water park… Who needs infrastructure. Traffic conditions horrible, solution, water park with more traffic. Morons in charge.

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