STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
BURNET — City staff has acquired land north and south of Hamilton Creek Park with the aim of connecting the park to Haley-Nelson Park and the YMCA of the Highland Lakes at Galloway-Hammond.
“It’s been the goal of the (Burnet City Council) for quite a few years to connect the parks,” Burnet Mayor Crista Bromley said. “We wanted a walkway so people didn’t have to get out on the highway all the way from Galloway-Hammond through Hamilton Creek to Haley-Nelson Park.”
The Galloway-Hammond facility, 1601 S. Water (U.S. 281 South), is a city-owned recreational center managed by the YMCA of the Highland Lakes. Haley-Nelson, a 51-acre park, is located on Garden Trails Road off West Buchanan Drive (Texas 29 West).
Burnet city staff are expected to close on a 2.6-acre tract, owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, from a point where the Hamilton Creek Park sidewalk ends on the north side to the city-owned land.
The purchase price is about $17,000.
“Sometime, in the next seven days, we’ll have that closed,” said Evan Milliron, the Burnet administrative services specialist. “There’s already a natural trail, which connects the parks.
“Our next phase in this process would be to clean it up and assess what we have,” he added.
On the south side of Hamilton Creek Park, officials are tasked with acquiring “slivers” of creek shoreline from private property owners to upgrade a primitive trail leading to the (Haley-Nelson) amphitheater.
“We’re basically buying from the creek bank down,” Milliron said.
So far, the city has:
• acquired a 0.18-acre piece of land donated by a private property owner on the south side of Hamilton Creek Park
• and purchased one-tenth of an acre between Texas 29 (West Buchanan Drive) leading to the amphitheater.
“There’s four property owners we’re working with right now,” said Milliron, referring to about a quarter-mile distance of land along the creek shoreline on the south side of Hamilton Creek. “This was a council priority to get this done.”
The effort to provide an accessible extension of trails will not only enhance an amenity for residents but attract visitors to the area as well.
“There’s quite a bit of space there that you don’t see from the highway,” Bromley said. “Connecting the parks will allow us to create a nice addition to a venue.”