Granite Shoals approves ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ grant from TPWD

Renderings for the layout of a toddler area, covered playing fields, and youth softball field of the Granite Shoals multipurpose sports facility located near the Granite Shoals City Hall at 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. Drawings courtesy of city of Granite Shoals

STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO

GRANITE SHOALS — The Granite Shoals City Council brought up two concerns during a recent meeting related to a $500,000 grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department last spring to build a multipurpose sports facility.

• How would the city would pay to maintain it?

• Who would pay to build restrooms for it?

City Manager Ken Nickel outlined a plan to address those questions during the council’s Oct. 24 meeting to satisfy the council, which voted to accept the TPWD’s grant that was awarded in March.

“The council sees this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city,” he said. “They wanted to hear a strategy of how to achieve this.”

While the grant will pay for renovations to the sports complex at City Hall, Nickel said the grant doesn’t cover paying for the restrooms.

Nickel has already spoken to local Rotary clubs about the restrooms, and Rotarians have indicated they would be willing to ensure this part of the project is built. The city is also eyeing other potential sources of funding such as the Lower Colorado River Authority, which has in the past awarded grants to municipalities for similar needs.

“If we have folks who can help us, I think we can go cover that without using taxpayers’ money,” the city manager said.

Nickel estimates it will take the city staff five hours a week to edge and mow the ball field and another seven hours per week to maintain the building and restroom at a cost of $12,900 annually.

He further estimates it will cost $2,400 a year for water usage on the field and an additional $1,500 in supplies annually for a yearly grand total of $16,800 in expenses.

To help offset the annual costs, Nickel said city staff plans to rent the baseball field for $250 a day. He believes it can be rented for two days each week for 26 weeks, which would bring in $13,000.

He plans to rent the soccer field at a rate of $100 per day, two days a week for 26 weeks that will yield $5,200.

If the city can rent out the basketball and volleyball courts at $50 for two hours per week for 52 weeks, that will bring in $5,200.

Nickel anticipates $3,000 in revenue from volleyball and basketball tournaments.

The city manager reached these projections based off various conversations with individuals who play those sports and gave data for what they pay to go elsewhere to play, he said.

“These are ideas on how to get additional funding,” he said. “We’d like to have volunteers to go out and maintain it. Our volunteers are a big plus.”

In addition to the those sports, the multipurpose facility will have batting cages, shuffleboard and pickleball courts.

The council also approved:

• a five-year contract with the city of Highland Haven for fire service. Highland Haven will pay $75,000 in 2017-18; $77,500 the following year; $80,000 in year three; $82,500 in the fourth year; and $85,000 in the final year.

• a 20-year agreement with the estate of James C. Metzger family. The family land will not be part of the city as long as it continues with the current activities. “Once they start developing a housing subdivision, then they’d be eligible for annexation into the city,” Nickel said. That would be a potential annexation of 1,120 acres.

• annexing 639 acres of the Robert Metzger family land.

• awarding the John Rhinehart Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service to Roy and Mary Lou Guerrero, the founders of Joseph’s Food Pantry. They will receive the award at the next council meeting, which is Tuesday, Nov. 14.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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