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City moves forward on parks project

The Graham City Council approved the 2019 Park Improvement Study Executive Summary prepared by the engineering company Jacob Martin, LLC, and authorized the Graham Parks and Recreation board to give the engineering company the authority to apply for grants with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The approval also gave City Manager Brandon Anderson the authority to sign all documents related to TPWD applications.

The city of Graham received $1.3 million from the Brazos River Authority for parks improvement projects in June 2018. The money was received for the Salt Creek Park project to turn the floodplain along Salt Creek into a park for the city with a waiver of liability to the BRA. Since then, the parks board has been working to get numbers they can submit to TPWD in order to obtain matching grants for their suggested improvement projects, Anderson said.

“We tried to work with the original engineering firm from five years ago, but weren’t really seeing the hardcore numbers that we wanted to see,” Anderson said. “What our goal is, and I think the parks board has tried to achieve and done a pretty good job at that, is we wanted to take that seed money that we received for the parks project and be able to take that and use it and leverage it hopefully through the grant process with Texas Parks and Wildlife.”

Anderson said he tasked the parks board and engineering company to make a three-year plan which would maximize the funds received from the BRA. The board was presented a three-phase plan on Thursday which detailed how the project could potentially proceed.

“Phase 1, is at a cost of a $1,112,000, Phase 2 is at a million,” Anderson said. “Parks and Wildlife have two matching grants that are available for $500,000 a piece and they would issue $500,000 and we would have to match that, so Phase 1 and Phase 2 I think we can get done with the money that we have set aside. Phase 3, is a $411,000 price tag and I am hoping by the time we get to this and can get this plan moved out to the public, we can get a little public support and possibly some public donations that would help finish up Phase 3.”

According to the engineering summary, the three-phase process was chosen due to constraints and scheduling which would come with the TPWD local parks grant program or recreational trails program which are run on a yearly cycle.

Phase 1 will include a playground at Firemen’s Park at an estimated cost of $526,500, a disk golf course at the new park on West St. at an estimated cost of $69,500, restrooms for Firemen’s Park at an estimated cost of $135,000, a pavilion at the new park at an estimated cost of $75,000, a dog park at Shawnee Park at an estimated cost of $41,000 and archway entrance for the new park at an estimated cost of $25,000 and trails with lights for Firemen’s Park at an estimated cost of $240,000. The total estimated cost of Phase 1 will be $1,112,000.

“The trail system would be extended to go down underneath the (Hwy.) 61 bridge that goes out to the power plant and would end up going around the soccer complex as well, so we would have about a one-and-a-half, two-mile walking trail,” Anderson said. “(…)That would include trails with lights.”

He said the board is looking at the trails being crushed and compacted rock with a five-foot span and within ADA compliance. The estimated disc golf cost will potentially cover upgrades to the nine holes at Firemen’s Park and possibly expand the location to an 18-hole course along with addition of another 18-hole course, Anderson said. Phase 2 will include ball fields for the new park at an estimated cost of $300,000, an amphitheater for the new park at an estimated cost of $316,500 and renovations to the Old Ag Barn at Firemen’s Park at an estimated cost of $383,500. The total estimated cost of Phase 2 will be $1 million.

Anderson said the parks board’s understanding is in order to bring tournaments to town, the city needs more fields than they posses at the soccer complex currently across from Spivey Hill.  

“What we have recommended doing with the land from the BRA, is some of the areas which have really nice sets of trees, we want to leave just because of the aesthetics and the value of the trees in a park area,” Anderson said. “That is where we are looking at part of the 18-hole disc golf course as well, but we would be going in and kind of precision leveling some of that land and making it more of a greenscape that would be the size big enough to host soccer and flag football tournaments.”

Anderson said the board is looking at three to five fields which will be football to soccer sized regulation fields with backstops at the edge for baseball, softball and tee-ball teams. The board is planning for the amphitheater to hold 300 people and it will be placed at the end of Third St., Anderson said.

“As you come off of Third St. there at West (St.) that kind of natural slope, it would sit in there,” he said.

Anderson said the board also spoke about the renovations at the Old Ag Barn with the possibility of adding ADA compliant flooring with basketball courts and exercise equipment which could be accessed in the covered environment year-round.

Phase 3 will include the finishing touches on the amphitheater and ball fields in the new park at an estimated cost of $86,000 and $67,000, a concessions area at the ball fields at the new park at an estimated cost of $100,000, a bocce ball fields at the new park for an estimated cost of $6,000 and restrooms in the new park at an estimated cost of $152,000. The total estimated cost of Phase 3 will be $411,000.

For the rest of the story, see the Saturday, Oct. 19 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 228-0589