STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — If all goes according to plans recently unveiled at the Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, Lakeside Park will have a 400-foot sandy beach as early as next June. The beach would be located between Lake Marble Falls and Lakeside Pavilion.
Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss presented drawings of the beach along with those of boat ramp improvements to Johnson Park and the Hays Addition during the June 4 commission meeting then to Marble Falls City Council during its June 5 meeting.
The plans, devised by engineering and architecture firm Halff Associates, gave city leaders an idea of how Phase 1A of a multi-phase park improvement plan will transform those areas.
The beach project has been on people’s minds for more than a decade.
“This gives you some idea as to the size of the beach,” Moss said in regard to the drawings. “If there’s anything about (this) phase that benefits the community, it’s the sandy beach. That’s the one thing (residents) have been asking for.”
Construction for Phase 1A, which is estimated to cost $3.3 million, is projected 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 Marble Falls Economic Development Corp., the Hotel Occupancy Tax, general city revenue, and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to cover the bond debt.
Along with the Lakeside Park drawings, Moss presented conceptual drawings for the Johnson Park and Hays Addition boat ramps. The Hays Addition — also known as Racer’s Landing — ramp is located on Lakeshore Drive in the Pecan Valley area of the city.
Among the improved features are extended parking spots to hold vehicles with trailers, a roundabout at the Johnson Park ramp allowing better ingress and egress, and a uniquely shaped parking lot at the Racer’s Landing boat dock off Lakeshore Drive that helps boaters get in and out of the ramp while trying not to inconvenience nearby residents.
The existing ramp at Johnson Park on Backbone Creek will remain in the same spot. The roundabout feature even allows the city to keep many of the pecan trees.
“The parking area and ramp we’ve modified for efficient parking and traffic flow,” Moss said.
Boaters can park at Johnson Park Ball Field when the spaces near the dock are full.
“It’s more obvious how you’re to park and utilize the space,” Moss said about Johnson Park ramp upgrades. “There’ll be signage that says that.”
The design at Racer’s Landing in the Pecan Valley subdivision features a couple of nice design elements. The driveway will extend off Trinity Street for safety reasons, making it easier for drivers towing vehicles to enter and exit. Drivers going in and out directly off Trinity Street will also minimize bright vehicle lights shining into nearby homes during the night or early morning hours.
Once the spaces are full at Racer’s Landing, boaters will park on the street like they’ve always done. The Racer’s Landing plans also include spaces for vehicles without trailers.
The ramp currently located at Lakeside Park will likely be closed at some point to make room for the proposed hotel and conference center.
Other improvements under Phase 1A include:
• the partial demolition of the Lakeside Park boat ramp for special event access;
• Lakeside Pavilion parking and a 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 stormwater conveyance and water-quality facilities as required;
• on-site water utilities to serve proposed Phase 1A improvements and the swimming pool;
• 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.