STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — The results of a camera-tracked survey that collected usage data revealed that Johnson Park has the most-used boat ramp — and the set-to-be-relocated Lakeside Park’s ramp is not far behind.
Marble Falls city leaders have proposed relocating the Lakeside Park ramp to make room for amenities adjacent to a proposed hotel-conference center.
To compare the frequency of use by lakegoer, officials surveilled the city’s three boat ramps — including a third one on Lakeshore Drive — from April to June.
“We had over 300 users just at Johnson Park. When you compared that to the park at Lakeside, it had about 270 users,” Marble Falls City Manager Mike Hodge said. “Lakeshore had about 45.
“The two of those combined are just a little bit ahead of what you see at Johnson Park,” he added. “Some of that may drive what we decide to do as far as the relocation of the Lakeside boat ramp.”
In October 2016, a swath of land at Lakeside Park was deeded from the Texas Department of Transportation to the city of Marble Falls.
The state approved the transfer of land, valued at $125,400, with the caveat the city would be liable for the cost if it removed the existing boat ramp from that site and failed to relocate it at equal or greater value.
“We shared (the survey results) with the council, and as we develop the plans for the first phase of the park improvements, we’ll have some discussions about what does the new boat ramp look like, where is it located, and what kind of parking do we need to provide,” Hodge said.
City staff utilized three motion-detecting cameras previously used at other parks for security purposes.
“We’ll probably still continue to monitor it and bring out any information, but right now, we’re complete as far as the data that we think we need to collect,” Hodge said.
Along with determining the popularity of the local amenity, results of the survey could assist the city in attracting new residents and grant funding applications.
“From our citizens’ perspective, it is a benefit,” Hodge said. “Those are recreational activities that the city of Marble Falls can provide, and we want to do a good job in making sure we have the best facilities we can provide.
“That’s important when we’re trying to attract new development to town, especially in the residential side,” he added. “They ask those questions. What kind of parks, trails, swimming pools, boat ramps come up, too, because they want to know what we have to offer.”