STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commission learned during its regular meeting Sept. 11 how officials will pay for $3.3 million in upgrades and improvements to Lakeside and Johnson parks as well as received a timeline for Phase 1A of a multi-year parks plan.
Marble Falls Finance Director Margie Cardenas said the city will cover the projects by issuing certificates of obligation, or bonds. Reimbursement for that debt will come through several sources, including the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp., hotel occupancy taxes, and regular city revenue streams such as property taxes and sales taxes.
The city is eyeing several major park improvements over the next five years. The $3.3 million Phase 1A includes a 20-foot-wide boat ramp with six parking spots at Johnson Park, more parking on Yett Street, new restrooms in Johnson Park and on Main Street, a Lakeside Beach and restrooms, parking at Lakeside Pavilion, Lakeside Park trails, irrigation, furnishings, wayfinding signage, landscaping, utilities, lighting, and grading.
Cardenas said the annual bond payment will be approximately $234,000.
As for getting things rolling on this phase, officials hope to contract with a design firm by Dec. 5 with construction actually beginning around Sept. 1, 2018. Then, city leaders estimate, Phase 1A should be completed by June 30, 2019.
“As we progress, there’s a lot to look forward to in the parks,” Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said. “(The schedule) is aggressive.”
The downtown parks improvement plan (Phase 1 of the overall Capital Improvement Plan for the city parks) includes three sub-phases starting with Phase 1A. The other two — phases 1B and 1C — include a raised overlook, a boardwalk, a waterfall pavilion, restrooms, a 1,500-person-capacity Lakeside amphitheater, a smaller amphitheater, a pedestrian bridge, and more.
The city has included improvements to several of its parks outside the downtown area as part of the five-year plan.