STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — The city of Marble Falls took a step closer to creating its own oasis at Lakeside and Johnson parks Feb. 6 when the City Council approved an engineering and design contract with Halff Associates for $296,620.
The city is eyeing upgrades to its parks system out through 2022, including major changes to Johnson and Lakeside parks.
The money will come from the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. and the Hotel Occupancy Tax.
The contract was $18,000 over what the city had originally budgeted; however, Halff Associates initially proposed an even higher sum, according to Parks and Recreation Department Director Robert Moss.
“We negotiated quite a bit off the price,” he told the council. “We got them close enough to our budget number, so we can move forward.”
Halff Associates, which designed the new looks of Johnson and Lakeside parks and Racer’s Landing, will now help the city go from the design stage to reality.
“They will design and produce contract documents to go out for bids to construct,” Moss said. “They will produce the construction documents for Phase 1A for all practical purposes.”
The city is considering more than $16 million in park system improvements spread across the municipality. The city’s Capital Improvement Program outlines the projects through 2022. The downtown park improvements, which includes Johnson and Lakeside parks along with a few other spaces, is separated out in phases 1A, 1B, and 1C.
Moss said city officials would like construction for Phase 1A, which is estimated to cost $3.3 million, to begin in October and be completed by June 2019. The city plans to issue certificate of obligation bonds to cover the project costs. The city will use funds from the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp., the Hotel Occupancy Tax, general city revenue, and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to cover the bond debt.
Phase 1A includes the construction of a beach at Lakeside Park, just below where the city pool is located. The beach is a project that’s been talked about for about a decade. This also allows the pool to remain through the construction of this initial phase.
Other improvements include:
• reconstruction of the boat ramp at Racer’s Landing on Lakeshore Drive with six parking spaces;
• improving the parking lot at Johnson Park;
• partial demolition of the Lakeside Park boat ramp for special event access;
• Buena Vista Drive utilities, streetscape, and paving;
• Lakeside Pavilion parking and pedestrian walkway;
• trail and walkway improvements (approximately one-half mile);
• site furnishings and wayfinding signage
• landscape and irrigation;
• parking and pedestrian lighting as well as power for special events;
• on-site storm water conveyance and water-quality facilities as required;
• on-site water utilities to serve proposed Phase 1A improvements, swimming pool; and city-owned house structure;
• future trailhead and lakeside restroom facilities;
• on-site dry utilities, including primary and secondary electric;
• and bulkhead improvements and water access from the existing boat ramp at Lakeside Park toward Hampton Inn.
“That was not part of the original scope,” Moss said. “(The bulkheads) will have to be designed and built.”
Sidewalks will be constructed near Lake Marble Falls.
Public boat ramps will be in Johnson Park and Racer’s Landing on Lakeshore Drive. Both will be improved for traffic flow and parking.
Moss noted that surveys and electronic cameras showed the number of parking spots at each ramp to be adequate. He noted parks staff kept track of the number of watercraft at each ramp during the month of April and from Memorial Day weekend to the Fourth of July holiday.