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As Meadowlakes demographics shift, city looks at child-friendly renovations

Meadowlakes, Texas

Meadowlakes is poised to begin talks about renovating several city amenities, including the community swimming pool, in an effort to be more child-friendly. File photo

Meadowlakes Mayor Mark Bentley recently announced plans to possibly renovate popular amenities such as the swimming pool in an effort to become more child-friendly as the city’s demographics show signs of change.

Meadowlakes was initially incorporated in 1985 as a retirement community. Over the past decade, the gated city has seen a significant demographic shift in terms of the average age of residents. 

In 2010, the U.S. Census reported the median age of Meadowlakes to be 62 years old. In 2020, Census data showed the median age dropped to about 50 years old.

Bentley spoke to DailyTrib.com about the city’s timing on renovations.

“There’s a couple of factors that went into it,” he said. “We’re paying off bonds for the next fiscal year, so there’s an opportunity to look at some of our aged buildings and facilities that were built in the ’70s.”

Now is the time upgrade, he said. 

“You could do nothing. You could save money and say, ‘We’ll get it done when we have enough money saved,’” Bentley said. “But by the time you save for 15 years, you don’t have money anymore because inflation is eating away all your savings.” 

The mayor believes enlarging the pool and making it more child-friendly with the possible addition of a splash pool will be a good reflection of the city’s changing demographics.

“Part of the new layout is undoubtedly going to be a larger swimming pool,” Bentley said. “I think those type of changes are important to the younger families.”

While the vision for these upgrades is still somewhat preliminary, Bentley has a general idea of what the process should be.

“We are having an architectural firm look at possible layouts and prepare drawings and building conceptual-type drawings of a what if-type situation,” he said.

A major concern the mayor has about any renovations is the effect they might have on the city’s ad valorem tax rate. 

Bentley hopes the tax will remain steady.

“We’ll see if it fits with us and the budget we have, and if so, we’ll probably proceed,” he said.

Also on the improvement list are the city’s golf course amenities, including the pro shop, cart barn, restrooms, and clubhouse. 

A presentation on proposed renovations could come as early as this fall. Bentley is hesitant to commit to further development or expansion due to his belief that the city is currently at near-full capacity.

“One of the parameters we need to stay within is available land since Meadowlakes is essentially built out,” he said. “There’s not a lot of extra area, so we certainly have to be aware of the layout we have available to us and live within the land constraints we have.”

nathan@thepicayune.com

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