Parks and Recreation

Quidditch event attracts 21 teams to town this weekend

Texas A&M Quidditch team members pose for a photo. The team will participate in the 2017 Southwest Regional Championship hosted at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station, Texas, Feb. 18-19. Photo source:

The Texas A&M Quidditch team will participate in the 2017 Southwest Regional Championship on Saturday and Sunday at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex. Photo source: Facebook.

By J.D. Wood, Tourism Manager

Now that our Super Bowl buzz is finally wearing off, College Station is turning its focus to a lesser known sport – Quidditch. And it’s for the same reason Houston and every other major city in America want to host Super Bowls.

The almighty dollar.

Veterans Park and Athletic Complex will host the 2017 U.S. Quidditch Southwest Regional Championship on Saturday and Sunday, bringing in 21 teams from five different states. It’ll be the first major Quidditch event hosted at a City of College Station facility, and we hope it won’t be the last. Admission is free.

Super Bowl tourism in perspective

Houston reportedly welcomed more than 1.3 million guests for the Super Bowl weekend, with economic impact estimates as high as $350 million for the entire metro. For one weekend, that’s pretty mind blowing.

But Houston couldn’t do it alone.

The state’s event trust fund paid $25.4 million to help build up to the big game, and Houston was asked to guarantee an impressive array of complimentary services. When Dallas bid for the 2011 Super Bowl, the trust fund awarded $32.1 million, and the city pooled its vast resources to win over the National Football League.

What does this mean for College Station?

Although College Station will never host a Super Bowl, Texas A&M’s collegiate events are the Super Bowl equivalent to our local economy. According to a recent study by A&M’s Division of Finance and Administration, Aggie sporting events and related campus activities attracted 1.3 million visitors and $385 million to the regional economy in 2013. The numbers for 2016 likely exceed those estimates.

The City of College Station and Bryan College Station Sports & Events capture bids on a variety of sporting events each year that add significant value to our community. The successful bid to host our first U.S. Quidditch regional will not only spur the weekend economy, but it could also lead to additional opportunities for us to host more Quidditch tournaments.

We expect the event to attract about 300 visitors who will spend money for two days on local hotel rooms, food, and entertainment.

How do we land these events?

College Station competes with other cities to host these types of events and the economic benefits they bring. But like Houston, we can’t do it alone.

The U.S. Quidditch bid manual describes what the organization typically asks of a host community in incentives and services. While it’s no Super Bowl request, it requires host communities to commit a significant level of time and resources.

The Parks and Recreation Department and Bryan College Station Sports & Events leveraged the Texas A&M Quidditch team’s participation in national and regional competitions to assemble our pitch.

Supporting new business for local hoteliers, retailers, and restaurateurs is what drives this effort, and Quidditch is certainly not the first successful pitch we’ve had. Here are a few other notable visitor-based events hosted by College Station thanks to winning bids submitted by our dedicated Parks and CVB sports event managers:

When it’s all said and done, these events will have attracted more than 50,000 visitors who injected $20-25 million into our local economy.

Free Quidditch youth clinic

Still not sure what to think? Come out to Veterans Park and Athletic Complex on Saturday or Sunday and see what sports tourism looks like in action.

As a friendly gesture to fans and curious onlookers, U.S. Quidditch will conduct a free clinic on Quidditch Field 3 to teach kids and young adults about the sport. The clinics will last about an hour and a half and will start at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, and at noon on Sunday.

They’ll provide the equipment, too, so no need to bring your broomstick.

We’ll see you this weekend at Veterans Park!

Source: U.S. Quidditch

Graphic: U.S. Quidditch



J.D. Wood has been the City of College Station’s tourism manager since 2014 after serving as lead athletic supervisor for a year. His extensive experience in sports and tourism includes stints with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and Texas A&M Athletics. A native of Onalaska, J.D. earned his bachelor’s (2009) and master’s (2010) degrees in sports management from Texas A&M.


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3 ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions at last



By Virginia McCall, Assistant Recreation Supervisor/Youth Services

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions about what we want to accomplish in the coming year. We start out excited about losing weight or saving money, but soon reality sets in, and our motivation diminishes.

Most of the time, we eventually resign ourselves to trying again next year.

If you want to break the cycle of broken resolutions, the College Station Parks & Recreation Department can help. Beginning next Tuesday, we’re partnering with students from Texas A&M’s School of Public Health and the Department of Health & Kinesiology to create a New Year’s Resolution Series to help you get in shape, eat healthier, and become better organized.

1. Fit Family

Experience a fun, fat-burning workout you can replicate anywhere — with no equipment needed. Come by yourself and meet new people, or bring your kids, your partner or your roommates. The cost is $35 per family, and all ages are welcome.

Tuesdays • Jan. 24-April 11 • 6-7 p.m. • Wolf Pen Creek Park
Sundays • Jan. 29-April 16 • 6:30-7:30 p.m. • Southwood Community Center

2. Healthy Kitchen

Learn about nutrition and feeding your body the fuel it needs to feel great. In addition to learning how to prepare nutritious – and delicious – foods, you’ll discover ways to lower your grocery bill while still providing fresh, healthy meals for your family. The cost is $35 per family, and all ages are welcome.

Wednesdays • Jan. 25-April 13 • 6-7:30 p.m. • Wolf Pen Creek Green Room
Sundays • Jan. 29-April 16 • 5-6:30 p.m. • Southwood Community Center

3. Organize Your Life 

Adult learning expert Margo DeGange helps you gain control of your life through organization. We long to be organized and have things under control, but making it a reality can be challenging. In these classes, you’ll learn simple tools and tricks to get organized, including how to arrange a positive home environment that supports your goals and desires. The cost is $45 per participant, and all ages are welcome.

Empower your Life through Inspired Organization & Order
Wednesdays • Feb. 1-22 • 6-7:30 p.m. • Southwood Community Center

Springboard for Success in Life — your Home
Wednesdays • March 1-29 • 6-7:30 p.m. • Southwood Community Center

You don’t have to be a College Station resident to benefit from these classes, but you do need to register in advance. Go to to register online, or stop by the Stephen C. Beachy Central Park Office (1000 Krenek Tap Rd.) between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays.

For more information on these and other Parks & Recreation programs, view the Spring Parks Guide at


13062486_10205970830219402_6104763740309753222_nAbout the Author

Virginia McCall is in her third year as assistant recreation supervisor/youth services. A College Station native, she previously served as staff development specialist for Kids’ Klub, the College Station Independent School District’s after-school program.


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Ms. Jean’s spirit lives on through Dream Works Conference


dreamworks_fbeventBy Cheletia Johnson, Lincoln Recreation Center Assistant Supervisor

 “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”   — Gen. Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State

robinsonI was privileged to work with a woman of great character who lived by Gen. Powell’s words. The late Lillian Jean Clark Robinson, better known as “Ms. Jean,” was a former supervisor of the Lincoln Recreation Center. She stood proudly and fought tirelessly to deliver more services to the community.

Ms. Jean is no longer with us physically, but her spirit lives on.

Without her dreams, the Lincoln Recreation Center would not have started celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Without her dreams, guests of the Lincoln Recreation Center would not be able to see the beautiful mural displaying prominent African-American heroes such as Gen. Powell.

Her successors have embraced many of Ms. Jean’s great attributes. The visionary and talented Lance Jackson —brother and father figure of the neighborhood, as well as the Lincoln Center’s longtime supervisor —continues spearheading many endeavors set in motion by Ms. Jean. For more than 25 years, Lance has made a positive impact on our community.

16141022709_a06f6fa3f2_oContinuing the legacy of dreams, Lance visualized a concept to remember Dr. King through the Dream Works Conference. Dream Works develops civic responsibility through active discussion, participation, and celebration of the legacy and dream of Dr. King. The format provides an opportunity for the public to share thoughts, ideas, and resources.

In its third year, the 2017 Dream Works Conference will be from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Lincoln Recreation Center. Rev. Sam Hill of North Bryan New Birth Baptist Church will be the guest speaker, and the conference will feature sessions on character, leadership, spirituality and personal and community development. The conference is free, but lunch is $7 per plate.

Click here to register.

As part of the legacy of the Lincoln Recreation Center, my aspiration is to be a torchbearer, lighting the path for future generations and, someday, adding a scholarship banquet to the MLK weekend. With faith, hope, and determination, I expect this to come to fruition in 2018.

We’ve dreamed for a better community — now it’s time to wake up and find solutions for a better community.  As Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.”


15056423_10211457886507712_8938533943363720232_nAbout the Author
Cheletia Johnson has worked for the City of College Station for more than 23 years, including 12 as the Lincoln Recreation Center’s assistant supervisor. A College Station native, Cheletia grew up near the LRC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in community health from Texas A&M and a master’s in counseling from Prairie View A&M.


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Major changes underway at popular Lick Creek Park

By Hallie Kutch, Parks & Recreation Marketing Staff Assistant

For almost 30 years, if you wanted a quick escape from the busy sounds of our growing community, you probably headed for the peaceful solitude of Lick Creek Park, the area’s premier nature preserve. If you’ve been there in recent months, your search for serenity may have been interrupted by the sounds of hammers and bulldozers.

But don’t worry, it’s only temporary — and the results will be worth it.

The 515-acre park on East Rock Prairie Road is undergoing extensive improvements, including the construction of a long-awaited nature center.

Established in 1987 as part of land negotiations to create a city industrial area, Lick Creek Park displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. The park offers five miles of marked trails and provides opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study.

lick-creek-walkingdogsIt’s also the city’s largest off-leash dog park.

Lick Creek Nature Center

In the 2008 bond election, residents overwhelmingly approved the $2.1 million Lick Creek Park Nature Center. The design was approved in 2014, but construction was delayed until an adequate water line could be installed for fire protection. Torrential rains last spring and summer caused additional delays.

Thankfully, the nature center’s construction and other improvements in the park are underway and are expected to be finished by May.

The nature center will soon be the park’s focal point and will provide citizens and visitors an educational opportunity to learn about the animals and plants that call the park home. Features include a 2,400-square foot building with a meeting room, restrooms, indoor and outdoor classrooms, an amphitheater and native plant displays.

Other Improvements

As a part of the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge to help save the threatened butterfly population, the park will include a monarch-friendly demonstration garden and a butterfly trail with abundant milkweed — the butterfly’s host plant — and other nectar-producing plants. The site will be a prime spot to watch the monarchs’ annual migration and metamorphosis.

The rerouting of trails will improve the flow and create a major pathway that connects the nature center to the park’s west entrance at Pebble Creek Parkway, which is the trailhead for the Lick Creek Hike and Bike Trail that winds more than five miles across town to Creek View Park.

lickcreek2Trail surfaces also will be upgraded, and new signage and maps will guide visitors through the trail system.

Meanwhile, informational signage throughout the park will identify trees, plants, birds, insects, butterflies, and wildlife. Benches along trails and at each trail intersection will allow visitors to pause and enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery.

Bicycle racks will also be accessible at the four major entry ways.

Don’t wait to enjoy Lick Creek Park

Although the improvements won’t be finished until the spring, the park remains open. You can still enjoy the park’s natural design, but be cautious and obey signs noting construction and closed areas.

Portions of the park that are closed include the Rock Prairie Road entrance and parking lot, Yaupon Loop Trail, and part of Post Oak Trail. Parking is available in the equestrian lot off Rock Prairie Road northwest of the main entrance.

The improvements and amenities will enhance one of College Station’s favorite recreational areas and make it more accessible – and enjoyable — for young and old alike.

For more on College Station’s park system, go to

312d2ecAbout the Author

Hallie Kutch is in her second year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


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Christmas in the Park: an event like no other



By Gerry Logan, Special Events Supervisor

In 2015, one of College Station’s most popular traditions – Christmas in the Park — returned to its original home at Stephen C. Beachy Central Park after several years at Wolf Pen Creek Park. Perfect weather cleared the way for more than 15,000 guests to celebrate the event’s successful homecoming.

Scheduled for Dec. 2-4 (Friday-Sunday), this year’s Christmas in the Park promises to be even better with an expanded festival day, a mobile stage and a full slate of family-friendly activities. You can also enjoy the usual free hot cocoa and cookies, pictures with Santa, hayrides, and much more.

Event hours are 6-10 p.m. on Friday and Sunday and noon-10 p.m. on Saturday’s festival day, an hour longer than last year. Festival day will feature a vendor village stocked with tons of great Christmas gifts, two snow slides, bounce houses, food, and pictures with Disney and Christmas characters. You will also enjoy the ever-popular performances by local song and dance groups on our new mobile stage.

We encourage you to arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time to park and get to the event site. For your convenience, we’ll have a shuttle available from the Municipal Court lots just down the street at 300 Krenek Tap Rd.

If you can’t make it out for the Christmas in the Park activities, you won’t want to miss driving or walking through the park to enjoy the more than 1 million beautiful lights that are always the main attraction.  We’ll turn the lights on at Thanksgiving and display them nightly from 6-11 p.m. through New Year’s Day.

Christmas in the Park can help make a lifetime of memories for you and your family.

For more information and a full parking map, go to or call 979.764.3486.


aaeaaqaaaaaaaajnaaaajdyxm2qzndbjlwywnjitngexny1intziltkznmvkmduwzgvkmgAbout the Author

Gerry Logan (@GL_sportsguy) is in his fourth year with the Parks & Recreation Department and has served as special events supervisor since 2014. He was previously the sports coordinator for the City of Clinton (Miss.) for three years. A native of Pontotoc, Miss., Gerry is a graduate student at Texas A&M after earning a degree in parks & recreation management from the University of Mississippi in 2010.


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Updates will help make playground visits safe, memorable



By Hallie Kutch, Marketing Staff Assistant

When nostalgia and childhood memories stir, what comes to mind?

For many of us, it’s sometimes a playground where we once spent countless hours climbing the equipment or running circles in an open field. Those playgrounds allowed our imaginations to take us anywhere.

The classic yellow slides and chain-link swings have been favored features in just about every park in the country. Playgrounds provide the ultimate place for children to explore, exercise and develop their creative and social skills. These memorable experiences are integral to developing young minds and bodies, so it’s vital for us to continue providing, safe, play-friendly spaces.

Improvements are on the way

The City of College Station values the benefits and importance of playgrounds. In September, the College Station City Council unanimously approved more than $600,000 for improvements and repairs to play areas in 15 city parks. Construction began in October and is expected to be finished by early 2017.

An essential element for a safe play space is the playground’s surface or foundation. Eco-friendly, durable rubber surfacing will be installed near swings and other play areas, and new play units, swing sets, and exercise equipment will be added. The changes and updates will enhance safety and help prevent injuries.

Here’s a list of the major updates:

  • CASTLEGATE: Removal of pea gravel from swing area, installation of new rubber surfacing, the addition of swings and chains, and painting of existing swing set.
  • CASTLEROCK: Removal of pea gravel from swing area, installation of new rubber surfacing, the addition of new swings and chains, and painting of existing swing set.
  • EDELWEISS: New swings and the addition of rubber surfacing.
  • GEORGIE K. FITCH: New play units and the addition of rubber surfacing.
  • JACK & DOROTHY MILLER: New surfacing for the walking path.
  • LINCOLN RECREATION CENTER: New swings and replacement of surfacing in swing area.
  • LIONS: New play units and the addition of rubber surfacing.
  • OAKS: New play unit and relocation of existing rubber surfacing.
  • SANDSTONE: New fitness equipment.
  • SOUTHERN OAKS: New swings and replacement of surfacing in swing area.
  • STEEPLECHASE: New swing set and the addition of rubber surfacing.
  • STEPHEN C. BEACHY CENTRAL: New play unit and addition of rubber surfacing.
  • THOMAS: New fitness equipment
  • UNIVERSITY: Removal of pea gravel in swing area, installation of a new swing set and rubber surfacing.
  • WOODCREEK: New play unit and addition of rubber surfacing.

The City of College Station Parks and Recreation Department offers 34 parks featuring play units for your kids to explore, enjoy, and make fond childhood memories they’ll carry the rest of their lives.

We invite you to share your experiences in our parks on Twitter with the hashtag #CSTXparks.


312d2ecAbout the Author

Hallie Kutch is in her second year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


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