An extended hike-and-bike trail, facility improvements, and more could be on the horizon for Marble Falls parks.
The Parks and Recreation Commission met Aug. 10 to discuss and review the 2017 Open Space Master Plan and 2020-2024 Capital Improvement Plan. While both are subject to change, they offer a look at what residents can expect in the future.
“I do think what’s exciting is that there’s obviously been a lot of work done up until this point to try and pinpoint some really cool projects for our park system,” said Parks and Recreation Director Lacey Dingman. “That’s a cool opportunity. It’s just now we’ve got to find out how to prioritize them.”
Phase 2 of the city’s hike-and-bike trail improvements, projected at $250,000, is slated to begin in 2021. The 2017 Park, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan described trails connecting Whitman Branch and Backbone Creek for a complete and continuous loop in and near downtown. The second phase will pick up where the current trail ends on Second Street and extend it to Childers Park, located at Broadway Street and Avenue N.
“A creek crossing will be one of the challenges for this project,” City Engineer Kacey Paul said. “We need to design a creek crossing that will not impact the floodplain in that area.”
Childers parking and other improvements are also scheduled for 2021. The park has two ballfields. While the $210,000 item specifically focuses on establishing improved parking areas of paved asphalt and space striping, the Parks and Recreation Commission hopes to also include some facility improvements in the cost of the overall project.
“It does need a new parking lot,” Dingman said. “That’s one of the problems there are at that site, just being able to organize parking in order to maximize parking capacity, but it wasn’t lost on us that the athletics field needed some upgrades as well. We’re in the process of evaluating how far we can make that $210,000 stretch.”
The Original Township Recreational Waterway enters its earliest stages with feasibility and design studies in 2021. The initial study will look at both Backbone and Whitman creeks. The project is slated to cost $3,770,000 from 2021 to 2024 and consist of a series of passable dams to create riffle ponds — for kayaks and other small watercraft — and recreational areas.
“We want to make sure that this is feasible, that it wouldn’t cause any issues with the fish in the creek, it wouldn’t impact the floodplain, that it could potentially benefit the floodplain,” Paul said. “But we need to evaluate that.
Lakeside Park’s Phase 1B is in early design stages at present. Using entirely Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. funding due to its location on EDC waterfront property, this phase consists of a series of improvements, including irrigation and landscaping and, most notably, a boardwalk and the repurposing of the old powerhouse.
At the EDC public meeting Aug. 5, the board reviewed preliminary concepts for the boardwalk and powerhouse. The feedback on those concepts will be revised into a single proposal that will be brought before the board in mid-September.