San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 14th, 2008
Kyle secures $2.5 million county parks grant

STAFF REPORT

KYLE – The fastest growing city in Hays County walked out of the commissioners court Tuesday with a big chunk of parks bond money.

Commissioners approved a $2.5 million outlay for a city park to be located in northeastern Kyle, fronted by Dacy Lane and Beebe Road. The 43-acre site is expected to one day become the city’s recreational hub with a $20 million recreation center as its crown jewel.

The money for Kyle eats up roughly 8.3 percent of $30 million in parks bond funding approved by Hays County voters in May 2007. However, the inclusion of a recreation center enabled the city to claim it would match the county’s funds at a ratio of 12.55 to one.

City staff and committees are working on the master plan for the park. Construction will begin in 2009 and reach completion in 2012.

The city expects to ask voters for up to $20 million in bonding authority to build the recreation center in November 2009. If the vote fails, Kyle Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Urbanowicz told his city council last November, “then we’ll just keep going back to the voters.”

The city’s parks master plan, completed in 2006, ranked the indoor recreation center as the single most important facility to build over the next decade.

The county grant will pay for the construction of outdoor amenities to include picnic areas, trails, a skate park, a pavilion, playgrounds, restrooms, an amphitheater and ball fields. The plan for the park also includes tennis courts, horseshoe pitches, volleyball and basketball courts, a disc golf course and parking.

The outdoor features of the park will be available to all Hays County residents without fees or membership dues.

The city is building the park under the working name of “North East Regional Park.”

Said Urbanowicz, “We hope to involve the local schools and citizens to help us name the new park by the end of the year.”

The city took its first major steps toward developing the site last November, when it picked 13.5 acres it already owned as dedicated parkland and, in the same meeting, approved the purchase of an adjoining ten acres from Alfonso and Hope Martinez for $198,000. The Martinez’s let the land go at less than market value in exchange for having their name somehow attached to the project for posterity.

Later, the city purchased an adjacent parcel of 19.2 acres, which was available for $450,000.

Though the park site lies in the city’s northeastern quadrant, city officials argued it is near the center point of Kyle’s population distribution. The park site is between Chapa Middle School and the coming Seton Hospital complex, which includes a major retail component.

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