By Kelly Kelbly, Parks & Recreation Assistant Director
The City of College Station’s Parks and Recreation Department continually strives to match assets, planning, facilities and programs to the wants and needs of you – our residents and customers.
Last fall, we commissioned a survey of our residents to assess those desires. We had an incredible response, with 1,144 citizens taking the time to provide their invaluable feedback.
Parks and Recreation staff will rely on the survey results as an essential tool as we update our master plan and work with the city council on establishing priorities and identifying funding. After analyzing the results, we were pleased to find that our department already is moving forward with many of your desires.
Hike and Bike Trails
According to the survey, your top three facility requests are hike and bike trails that allow connectivity, greenway corridors, and additional open spaces. These needs are integrally related to not only our Parks and Recreation Master Plan but also the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan.
Our departments meet regularly with each other and developers to review overlays as we move toward the complete connectivity of a progressive trail system throughout our community. A prime example is the beautiful Lick Creek Hike and Bike Trail, which allows access to multiple residential, business and park properties.
The trail meanders along lush and open green space, and you soon will see a trail parking lot on Lakeway Drive as an amenity of the Midtown development. Trail users can also park at the Lick Creek Nature Center to access the trail system. We’ll continue to expand and adjoin our trails to reach miles of developing and existing properties throughout our growing city.
Fields and Playgrounds
Another priority revealed in the survey is the need for additional and improved baseball fields. We’re pleased to report that the design of Southeast Park along Rock Prairie Road East is almost complete.
The premiere diamond facility will feature eight fields with synthetic infields, natural turf outfields, 10 or more batting cages, concession stands, and restroom facilities. Construction of Phase 1 — which includes four fields, infrastructure, and amenities — begins later this year.
We continue to work with the city council — along with our Capital Projects and Finance Departments — to identify funds to upgrade the concession and restroom structures at the Bachmann Community Park baseball fields. We’ll also soon begin construction of upgraded and new restroom facilities at Beachy Central Park.
Our parks system proudly boasts about 60 playgrounds. In the last five years, we’ve replaced 15 playground units, including surfacing and several shade structures. In 2019, we’ll replace the playgrounds at Gabbard and Thomas Parks. A new addition, Reatta Meadows Park, opened for use this month.
In addition, the much-anticipated Fun for All Playground, an all-inclusive playground at Stephan C. Beachy Central Park, is scheduled to open in late spring.
Each playground is certified and engineered to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date equipment specifications and surfacing requirements for your enjoyment. Keep an eye on the city’s social media as we highlight more upgrades and new playgrounds.
More Progress Updates
Here are a few other updates that already address many of the concerns expressed in the survey:
- This spring, we’ll dedicate the repurposed Arts Council at the corner of Dartmouth and Colgate as the Bob and Wanda Meyer Senior and Community Center.
- Pool hours at Adamson Lagoon will be extended to include weekends in May.
- We are working toward lengthening our aquatic fitness season into early fall. Check out our spring and summer guides for a listing of new aquatic programs.
We welcome and encourage your continued input and feedback. We invite you to visit with our staff by calling 979-764-3486 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also monitor Facebook and Twitter or consult our seasonal guides for additional updates and information.
Assistant Director Kelly Kelbly is in her 18th year with the College Station Parks & Recreation Department. A native of Gilmer, Kelly is a 1998 graduate of Texas A&M.
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