Parks Commission to recommend council approval of master plan
by Gary Kent
Apr 25, 2010 | 1234 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Remember,” said architect Carolyn Goldsmith James during Tuesday evening’s Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, “the master plan will be just a framework and it can be revised at any time.”

James and architect Robert Gignac of Gignac and Associates of Corpus Christi were in town to write down the final recommendations of the commissioners before taking their final draft of a parks master plan to the City Council for approval on May 11.

Commission members are expected to be at that meeting.

James and Gignac said they need to have all their information ready to print by that meeting so they have the master plan completed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s May 31 submission deadline.

The City Council is expected to apply for a TPWD grant to help fund the construction of a skate park at Flournoy Park.

During the meeting, the two architects showed slides of park layouts using aerial photos and they showed a rough drawing of what they thought Flournoy Park would look like after development has been completed there.

They also had drawings showing possible improvements to the city’s other parks and commissioners approved what they thought should be final versions of improvements to those facilities.

The architects showed slides of possible skate park designs and suggested an “L” shape for the Flournoy facility. The design had “bowl” features on the shorter length of the “L” and “street” features on the longer portion of the footprint.

Gignac and James also made some changes in other proposed park designs. They had suggested rebuilding the Little League baseball complex at Veterans Memorial Park in its present location. But Commissioner Gilbert Herrera said he wanted to consider moving that complex to the park’s northeast corner.

Commissioner Greg Traylor said that would allow the city to complete a new complex before razing the existing one.

Herrera suggested that the existing complex could be torn down and that part of the park used for any number of purposes, from the construction of a new municipal swimming pool or new playscapes to an extension of the John C. Beasley Municipal Golf Course.

“That city pool needs to be replaced very, very soon,” Herrera said.

James asked if it might be better to keep the pool at its current location at the Martin Luther King Recreational Park than move it to VMP.

Deputy City Secretary Susana Martinez said she had been approached by Police Chief Joe Treviño and he had asked that the commissioners recommend keeping the pool at its current location.

Treviño had said that the existing pool is in a central location, easily accessible by kids walking from their homes.

Gignac and James also showed the commissioners several ideas for shallow water features in some of the parks. The features would include play structures for younger children in water shallow enough for wading.

James said the water in the features could be recycled instead of simply allowed to flow down a drain.

The master plan also will call for grading the grounds at Carlos Reyes B. Park and then installing an irrigation system before resodding the grounds and adding bleachers for a Pop Warner Football complex.

The commissioners suggested some type of low fencing at Kohler Park to keep people from driving vehicles onto the grounds.

The architects recommended overlaying the existing walking trail at that park and installing new playscapes and covered picnic shelters.

Gignac and James also impressed upon the commissioners the need to cut curbs and provide restrooms, picnic facilities and other amenities in all parks that will comply with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act.

James recommended replacing the sand volleyball court at Kohler Park with a paved court. She said experience has shown that feral cats use beach volleyball courts as litter boxes.

City Parks Superintendent Fred Diaz said he has been told the residents in the Kohler Park area would like to plant trees around the property.

“It’s really a nice park,” James said.

The commissioners recommended that many of the items recommended for those parks would enhance the other parks in the city.

Improvements, however, will have to made gradually as the money becomes available.

Before adjourning, the commissioners elected T.J. Faust as chairman and Luis “Tiny” Longoria as vice chairman.
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