The city of Three Rivers is pursuing a $250,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that will fund improvements to Kopplin Park, located off of bustling Highway 281, boosting quality of life for local residents and adding to its appeal to out-of-town visitors.
Among the major improvements which would be funded by the grant are an expansion of the park’s sidewalks to make the park and its on-site trails more accessible to visitors.
Haley Satterwhite, a representative of the Santos McBain consulting firm which is working with Three Rivers to help secure grant funding, said the city has a competitive bid and its commitment to maintaining the park should enhance the city’s chances of being selected.
Funds would be used to reconstruct the trail running through the park, which is a popular walking spot for many area residents. An extension of the trail would be 750 feet long and 8 feet wide with a 6 inch limestone base.
“This trail will last a lot longer and have less maintenance than the existing trail,” Satterwhite said.
A 20 percent match is required to be funded with local money, so the city would have to pitch in $50,000 and would receive $200,000 from the state, if the grant is approved.
Mayor Pro Tem Patsy Roberts asked when the grant would be awarded.
“The review should be in the May to June timeframe,” Satterwhite said.
Mayor Felipe Q. Martinez asked about a sidewalk being put in place to reach the historic bridge. That bridge was moved from Ray Point to the park in 2017.
“We can actually do that work ourselves,” said City Administrator Thomas Salazar.
Councilman Tommy House said he is looking forward to improved access to the walking trails.
“From the parking lot to the trail, you have a lot of walkers who cut through the grass,” he said.
Improved lighting is also planned for the park.
“We are going to put up some solar lights,” Salazar said.
“The bridge looks really good with the lights — y’all did a great job,” House said.
“When the water reflects (the lights), it’s gorgeous,” Roberts added.
Satterwhite said photos of improvements already made to the park, including new restrooms, will be sent with the grant application.
“Hopefully this will help with the competitive process,” she said. Inclusion of details of the city’s maintenance plan to keep the park in top shape will also be included, she added.
“That’s good — it shows we’ll take care of it if they help us out,” House said.