A graphic representation of the Park View Park design concept presented to the Marble Falls City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 18, by Luck Design Team leader Brent Luck. The approved design is the result of months of consulting and collaboration with city staff, officials, and residents. Courtesy image
The Marble Falls City Council voted in favor of an early concept design for Park View Park, but not after differences were aired at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18. The planned 12-acre park will be located at the intersection of Parkview and Park Ridge drives.
“I know it’s been a challenge to get to this point,” said Marble Falls Mayor Richard Westerman after the final vote. “I don’t think anybody got exactly what they wanted, but I think that is what compromise is all about and I think we should look at it that way.”
Luck Design Team owner Brent Luck, who is also the lead designer on the project, gave a presentation to the council that was followed by an open discussion.
The design presented to the council was an amalgamation of the proposals from the commission, which voted 4-1 to approve the concept during a meeting prior to the council meeting.
As part of the contract between the city and Luck Design Team, the firm held two community stakeholder meetings during which the designs presented were heavily critiqued.
“One of the things that came out of those first series of meetings was great opinions and a wide variety of opinions,” Luck told the council. “It was very obvious at that point that we needed to slow down a little bit and go through, from a programming standpoint, what the consensus was for developing Park View Park.”
The master plan presented to the council on Tuesday featured a small, six-space parking lot, ample room for wildflowers and bird observation, a “deconstructed” play space concept, and minimal concrete or paving. These features were developed from feedback given to the design team from Parks and Recreation commissioners, Luck said.
The design also avoided artificial lighting and the typical layout of a playground, instead favoring a spread-out orientation of unique play equipment like giant bird’s nests, artificial hills, and balance beams. Familiar playground equipment such as monkey bars or climbing structures might be included but with natural materials and not on a massive centralized platform.
Initially, Councilor Dave Rhodes expressed frustration with the lack of parking spaces, believing that more would have to be added, passing on a problem to a future council. Councilor Griff Morris echoed Rhodes’ concern, saying he couldn’t imagine six parking spaces satisfying expected park attendance.
Luck pointed out he had proposed at least 16 spaces in early designs, but this was rejected by the community and commission. Parking was a point of contention during the design process with nearby residents concerned about overflow street parking, Luck said.
Councilor Bryan Walker expressed a desire for more concrete on the 1,000-foot-loop trail near the parking lot, citing concerns about strollers, accessibility, and the messy nature of the proposed decomposed granite trail.
Walker quickly made a motion to approve the conceptual design provided it included trail paving, 10 parking spaces, and a swingset and slide. He was seconded by Councilor Reed Norman, but the vote failed with Walker, Norman, and Rhodes in favor and Westerman, Morris, Councilor Laura Haltom, and Councilor Dee Haddock opposed.
“I voted against the entire inner trail being paved, and the neighborhood was clear about the swingset and the slide,” Westerman told Walker. “At this point, I just want to get the first steps done. I don’t want the bait-and-switch. (The residents living near the park) are not here tonight. They trusted us to follow through on the compromise.”
The council deliberated on the specifics of the deal, but Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Department Director Lacey Dingman stepped in and explained that many of the council’s concerns could be addressed further down the road in the design process.
“This is a very initial design, high level, just an idea or concept,” Dingman told the council. “We’re still going to have to have some flexibility as we proceed into the next step to get this project shovel ready.”
Walker adjusted his proposal and moved to approve the concept design with 10 total parking spaces and concrete paving leading from the parking lot to the restrooms. The council voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.
“I have such confidence in the professionalism of not only Brent as the contractor but also in the parks staff,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Celia Merrill. “I trust that they have very much heard the concerns from either extreme and have the knowledge of these elements that I don’t have as a community member.”
Luck Design Team was granted $95,750 to complete the design process. The company was given $34,518.75 in April for the first 30 percent of the design, which is what the council was shown and approved on Tuesday.