By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator
Parks are central to many experiences and memories – and park and recreation professionals help make them happen.
The College Station Parks and Recreation Department likes to think it has something to offer everyone, but that wasn’t always the case. In honor of Park and Recreation Month, let’s examine our history and see how far we’ve come.
Not long after College Station was incorporated with about 2,000 residents in 1938, the first city council created a board to manage public parks and grounds. In 1947, the city purchased land on Dexter Drive from F.B. Clark and Hershel Burgess for $2,000 to establish our first municipal park.
Initially known as Dexter Park, it was renamed Brison Park in 1980 in honor of Fred Brison. He served as College Station’s mayor pro tem from 1971-1974 and was a faculty member in Texas A&M’s Department of Horticultural Sciences for 43 years.
Brison Park is a beautifully wooded green space with a 1/3-mile nature trail and a seasonal stream. Around the perimeter are lamp posts and individual markers dedicated to each of the 12 victims of the 1999 Aggie bonfire tragedy.
Parks and Recreation became a city department in 1971 and has grown into one of only 22 nationally accredited municipal park agencies in Texas, with 72 full-time employees and numerous part-time seasonal staff.
Today, we maintain 56 developed and nine undeveloped parks that span nearly 1,971 acres, not to mention various recreational facilities and programs. Our parks feature 42 miles of walking trails, 65 exercise stations, 85 play units, 26 swing sets, 17 ponds, seven rentable pavilions, three dog parks, two pools, two splash pads, a skate park, and an all-abilities playground.
If that isn’t impressive enough, we also operate an amphitheater and festival site, three senior centers, a full-service recreation center, a public library, two cemeteries, and a nature center. In addition, our significant inventory of flat and diamond fields allows us to host many state and national tournaments in several sports.
Celebrate Park and Recreation Month with us by sharing your photos. Tag us on social media or use #CSTXparks. We’re eager to see how our community is stronger, more vibrant, and more resilient because of our parks and recreation programs and facilities.
About Park & Recreation Month
Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation’s official Park and Recreation Month. In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives officially mandated the observance. The National Recreation and Park Association‘s mission is to advance parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts to enhance everyone’s quality of life.
About the Blogger
Kelli Nesbitt has served the Parks & Recreation Department for 18 years, the last 10 as marketing coordinator. A native of Bryan, she earned a bachelor’s degree in health & kinesiology from Sam Houston State.
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