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Granite Shoals eyes grants for park work, including splash pad, boat ramps

Boat ramp at Bluebriar Park in Granite Shoals

Granite Shoals will apply for grants to improve the city’s parks, including the boat ramp at Bluebriar Park (pictured) as well as two other parks and a new splash pad at Quarry Park. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Granite Shoals City Manager Jeff Looney presented four grant opportunities to improve the city’s parks during the City Council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 11. Upgrades would include new restrooms at Bluebriar Park, improving boat ramps, and installing a splash pad. 

The splash pad, which is projected to cost $500,000, will be built beside the pickleball court at Quarry Park facing Phillips Ranch Road. 

“When people drive that road, it’s one of the first things they’ll see,” Looney said. “There’s already a quarry pond there. Water from the splash pad will fill that pond. I’ll try to add some ducks and other aquatic things people can enjoy. It’ll be fun.”

The application will be submitted to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is a 50-50 match. Granite Shoals will use the land, existing plumbing, and electricity as an in-kind match. 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will decide which projects get funded based on a point system, Looney said. City staff are looking for a professional grant writer to submit the application, photos, and other tidbits the state organization wants.

“We’ll accept bids for who wants to write grants,” he said. “They figure (their fee) on a percentage. Normally, it’s written into the grant what they get paid. And, they don’t get paid unless the grant is awarded.”

Two grants for boat ramps will be sent to the state department. One grant is to improve the boat ramps at Bluebriar, Clear Cove, and Hillcrest parks. 

An application for restrooms at Bluebriar Park will be sent to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Community Development Grant Program. The maximum amount awarded is $50,000, and Susan Patten, who is the LCRA area representative for the Highland Lakes, told councilors the entity has a grant writer on staff who can help.

After doing research, Looney noted the cost of a CorWorth restroom is $150,000, which has every part pre-installed and is delivered ready to be placed on top of a pad hooked into a city’s wastewater system.  

“They’re stainless steel, the plumbing is already done, the electrical stuff is done, they’re (American Disabilities Act)-compliant,” Looney said. “You prepare the pad to make sure everything is ready. They’ll tie it all in.” 

If the city were to build the restroom itself, Looney said engineers would have to be hired to ensure it was built properly. Once the work was completed, the city would spend about the same amount to construct one as it would to buy one. 

The council also approved applying for a Texas Community Development Block Grant to pay for services to update the city’s comprehensive plan to “plan for facilities we need in the future,” Looney said.

Top of the list is a new police station, which is a long-term goal.

“We’d like to move that close to City Hall,” he said. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com