EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
LLANO — Five years ago, a group of Llano parents questioned why they had to travel outside the area to cities such as Fredericksburg to find a playscape or a water park for their kids. There were no such facilities in Llano County at the time.
Instead of waiting for the government to address the issue, they decided to lend a hand.
Their work is paying off as the Llano Parks Project completed Phase 2 of the Matt and Doraliza Raglin Splash Pad in late August.
“The city budget is limited, so we thought we could help out,” said Julie Leverett, board president of Llano Parks Project, a nonprofit that, according to its website, is “dedicated to improving parks and recreation within Llano County.” The organization formed in 2013 to help support the local parks and work alongside local governments on the effort.
In July 2017, the Llano Parks Project and the city of Llano unveiled the splash pad at Badu Park, 300 Legion Drive. The parks group raised $230,000 for the first phase of the project, which included the pad, several water features, and a retaining wall around the structure.
Phase 2 added a UV water-filtration system and two additional upright water features: a bucket station and a frog-faced run-through sprinkler. The Llano Parks Project raised the $45,000 for Phase 2 during is annual Antler Drop Gala in February.
But members aren’t done. Leverett said they’re working on Phase 3 of the splash pad, which would add two more upright water features for about $25,000. The funds will come from the next Antler Drop Gala, which is set for March 2, 2019, at Ramblin’ Rose in Llano.
While the splash pad has been a major undertaking for the organization, it’s not the only one. Members have worked with the city to add a beach area at Badu Park and consolidate two playscapes into one main facility. Other projects included installing two new playscapes and fencing at City Hall Park.
The group’s impetus came several years ago when parents realized they had to travel outside of Llano County to find good playgrounds.
“We didn’t want to go to other places for the parks,” Leverett said.
One option was to work alongside the city and county governments to improve the parks.
Within those few years, the community has jumped into the effort through donations and other support. The Raglins, for whom the splash pad is named, were a major donor. But every bit helps.
“I think what this shows is people want to see their parks offer more, but it also brings the community together, whether it’s through the fundraising or just enjoying the parks,” Leverett added. “Instead of driving to Fredericksburg or somewhere else for their parks, we thought, ‘Why not create that here for our community.’ And, as people see, it’s been very well-received.”
If you want to support the Llano Parks Project and Llano-area parks, you don’t have to wait until the Antler Drop Gala in March (but mark your calendar), just visit llanoparksproject.org to donate or learn how else you can make a difference.