By David Tuma, Publisher
Morgan’s Point Resort completed their first Parks Master Plan. The project was a joint effort between the MPR city council and the MPR Economic Development Corporation.
They hired HALFF Associates to coordinate the public input meetings and organize a plan. It was an 11-month project that is an outline of what may be done. It provided an overview of what the city’s current parks provide for residents.
Needs of residents were identified and a 10-year plan was developed based on the needs and input from residents. The plan clearly prioritized the greatest needs. Over the length of the study, over 250 responses were collected.
The parks that will be developed first are Ansay, Oakmont and Lee Kleypas Park. For each of these parks there were three concept plans developed. Rodgers Park was also included in the plan for long-range purposes. Rogers Park is not part of the City of Morgan’s Point Resort. “Back in the old days Rodgers Park was huge. It had picnic tables and a boat ramp. I have been hearing about (Rodgers Park) for a while. People still walk along the old road,” said MPR City Manager David Huseman.
MPR’s population is expected to reach 10,000 over the next 20 years. Trails were a major request. Trail needs were clear with 75 percent of those responding listing this as a high need. Playscapes, picnic tables and lighting were a high need according to the survey results. Fishing areas were also listed. 80 percent of those who responded agreed that improving city parks improves the image of the community.
A surprising statistic was 49 percent of those who responded said they were willing to pay more taxes to improve the parks system. The exact amount was not calculated. Swimming areas and fitness areas were at 55 percent of those responded. Improved lighting at the parks was a major request of residents and sidewalks along MPR Road was a major need according to residents.
The plan showed future improvements or recommendations when funding is available. There is an overall map of the existing parks relative to population areas. Currently MPR has enough parkland compared to the number of residents: what MPR is lacking is parkland development. They have the land but not enough has been done with the parks. As the city grows, additional park space will be needed. The city has 130 acres of parkland.
For residents of MPR, the plan is a wonderful tool.
Lee Kleypas Park’s concept plan includes a walking trail, exercise stations, shaded structures, fishing pier that over looks the lake and expanded community center. The plan goes into some detail. Each park is planned that way. The visuals are extensive.
A splash pad, dog park and pavilions were in the top ten needs. By developing a Masters Parks plan, the city can apply for grants for park development. These plans can change a community in the course of a few years. Belton’s development of Nolan Creek was done through applying for grant funding. Having a plan for developing Rodgers Parks gives the city a chance to one day bring it back.
Installing park rules with signs is part of the overall plan. Lack of current parking was also addressed in the plan.
“The Economic Development Corporation worked hard on this project. The city council joined with them about halfway through the process. Texas Parks and Wildlife have reviewed the plan approved it. This helps applying for grants,” said Huseman.
After all the Master Parks Plan is just that, a plan.