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

February 12th, 2009
CPAT asks for new parks plan

STAFF REPORT

Hays County Commissioners will consider recommendations from the County Parks Advisory Team (CPAT), including a request that $50,000 be allocated for a new parks and open space master plan.

CPAT made its recommendations to the Hays County Commissioners Court in a letter this week. The court will consider the item on Feb. 17. The money for a new parks plan would come from the remaining $8.5 million of a $30 million parks bond approved by voters in May 2007.

The master plan, written in 2002 and updated in 2006, is thought by some CPAT members to be beyond revision. While the plan calls for the county to expend its greatest efforts on the acquisition of open space, commissioners in areas increasingly populated by young families have felt compelled to approve recreational projects.

In the meantime, CPAT is asking that the commissioners allocate no more than $600,000 total out of the remaining bond money for recreational projects, with a cap of $200,000 on any single such project.

Additionally, the citizen’s committee recommends that the commissioners appoint active members of CPAT to a new advisory board that would be named the Hays County Parks and Open Space Board, which would advise the court on any future bond projects or initiatives.
 
In another development, County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) is asking for an update on the Hays County Strategic Policy Plan at next week’s meeting, where commissioners also expect an update from the state Comptroller’s office, from which the county requested a broad-based audit in 2006.

Commissioners also will consider donating $500 to support the third annual Aquarena Earth Day Celebration, and hear a presentation and panel discussion on the role groundwater availability should play in determining lot sizes and the classifications of groundwater systems.

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0 thoughts on “CPAT asks for new parks plan

  1. A new master parks plan is a great idea. And one that is much needed. But isn’t it putting the horse before the cart to put restrictions on the use of the remaining money BEFORE a new master plan is completed? That defeats the whole idea of planning. CPAT needs to let go of their personal agenda and put planning for the county – as a whole – first.

    PS – just so you know – I would prefer that funds go towards buying open space, not funding recreational projects. But I believe in planning. And that we have to consider the needs of the entire population. And quite frankly, I don’t know what those are at present.

  2. As vice-chair of CPAT, I can tell you CPAT supports the Plan. The Court has ignored the Plan. And again, you can’t hit a moving target. A ten year plan is not obsolete after 7 years. But it will be good to take a new poll or and have dozens more meetings and retake the pulse of the County. And knowing I sound like a broken record- the language of the parks bond passed did not once include the word “recreation”. Not once.

  3. I guess it’s just a matter of interpretation.

    The actual verbage on the ballot was:
    “The issuance of $30,000,000 of Hays County tax bonds for parks, natural areas, open space, and related projects, and the preservation of water quality, aquifer recharge areas, and wildlife habitat, and the levying of a tax in payment thereof.”

    It does mention “parks” and “related projects.”

    And the web page the county put up explaining the bond proposal to the public had this to say:
    “The preservation of natural areas and open space is widely accepted as one of the surest ways to protect water quality and quantity. Likewise, public parks, land for recreational purposes, and preservation of scenic vistas can add quality of life in Hays County.”

    So I guess a lot of people really thought they were, in fact, voting for at least some money to go to recreational purposes.

    Read my PS in several posts back. We’re not in disagreement Chris.

    Good luck on your campaign for school board.

  4. Thanks, Lila.
    And there are a few open seats on the CPAT if you would like to help with the master plan process.

  5. I thought they were going to be reducing the number of people on CPAT. Which I think is a very good idea. But if they need someone, I am available.

  6. If you two don’t mind, I would like to make a comment. The web page that Lila quoted said ‘land for recreational purposes’. I think the remainder of the money should be used to purchase the land and then plan for development.

  7. Peggy, thanks for playing, you win the prize.
    We are not making more land, and it doesn’t “go bad”.
    I’ve been saying that for 10 years.

  8. But here’s something else to think about:
    The remaining money should be spent on land acquistion, as should money we’ve already blown on municipal activity centers, baseball fields and social services complexes. It should be spent implementing the Parks Plan we have now, though we’ll have to find it and dust it off.
    But there is a new development! The County’s Habitat Conservation Plan! This NEW Plan will require large tracks of environmentally sensitive land to be conserved and protected by the County. The Court is looking to use some or all of the remaining parks bond money for this purpose.
    The problem with this is that HCP land is often restricted from public access. (because it’s sensitive and people are pigs and can’t be trusted to behave themselves.)
    A project could be both a conservation project and a recreation project, but it would have to be “passive” (hiking)not “active” (soccer, baseball) recreation.
    Just a little more to think about….

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