With a limited parks and recreation budget, the city of Cottonwood Shores still wants to provide the best facilities and opportunities it can, so it turned to residents to pinpoint the greatest priorities.
Residents identified two things: rehabilitate existing parks and add courts for pickleball and volleyball.
With a $15,000 annual budget for the city’s parks department, parks committee chairwoman Andrea Stephens said the committee will squeeze as much as they can from every penny and nickel.
“I think all our parks need attention,” she said. “To have the pickleball and volleyball courts, we have to put together money. I’m going for matching funds. We’re collecting bids on what it would cost. We’re not going to be able to do both.”
Last year, the city, in conjunction with J. Gandolf Burrus Grant Development Services, conducted a parks survey for residents that drew more than 250 responses.
“That blew me away because I never figured we’d get that many,” Mayor Donald Orr said of the response. “It’s a job well done.”
The survey helped city leaders identify the desires of the respondents in the order of most to least important.
With those key areas identified, the city and parks committee are getting to work.
Stephens noted that city leaders have identified a site for a volleyball court and a possible site for a pickleball court.
As for rehabilitating or upgrading current parks, Stephens said they’re looking at improving lake access at Noah Thompson Park, 413 Lakeview Drive, with steps and a rail to Lake Marble Falls.
It’s one of the most popular parks in the city.
“You can sit there with a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning,” Stephens said. “Really, it’s the only park other than the boat ramp that touches water.”
The city has also partnered with Marble Falls High School’s welding program to build two new grills for Noah Thompson Park, an idea pitched by parks committee member Shawn Reed. He also happens to be one of the high school welding teachers.
Stephens called it a win-win for both sides: The city, which bought the materials, will have the permanent grills, while students gain valuable real-life experience.
“I think it’s a great thing,” she said. “It’s almost like a committee project.”
Aspen Park, located at 4101 Lakeview Drive, “needs work,” she said. “That one will take creativity and a search for grants.”
The park is spacious and includes exercise equipment, a playscape, and a basketball court.
The playscape needs to be replaced and moved farther from the road, and more parking should be added, Stephens said.
“We would be replacing the playscape and reorganizing the look of the park,” she said. “We’re looking to get equipment for all kids.”
Another longterm goal residents identified is building a trail system to include the city’s nature preserve, located at 1000 Dogwood Lane.
“It is very big,” Stephens said of the nature preserve. “There’s a lot of overgrowth, and we’re waiting for the brush to die off. We know it’s there, and we know it has great potential. Our focus has to be on things where we can make as much of a difference as we can. We want to make sure our parks are in step with how our city is growing.”
Volunteers and other support is always appreciated. Anyone who would like to help the city’s parks program may contact Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see the city’s parks plan, check out the recent City Council agenda.