Current, the city has no restrictions on use of tobacco products in parks, and very little regulation against alcohol, prohibiting glass containers.
Public Works Director Dane Rau said the city receives a handful of calls per year about people using those products in the parks, typically close to kid’s play areas. The board has considered park ordinances of other cities, such as Austin, Bryan, Bastrop, and College Station.
Rau said the board plans to bring park ordinance updates to city council early next year, adding more specific language for park facilities. He said these changes would “put some teeth” into the city’s ordinance.
The board is keeping in mind that parks are frequently used for parties, so it does not intend to make changes that are overly restrictive. Rau said the board is trying to make sure it does not cause issues for park patrons.
The board also approved revisions to 2019’s parks and recreation fee schedule. Initial rental fees for facilities were created in 2008, with several having not been increased since then. These changes are not final, and will be looked at by city council in January.
The proposed changes raise several fees for field and facility usage, as well as reservations for sports tournaments. Many of these changes raise rates by nearly double, or more.
Some of these include full-day rates for the All Sports Building Meeting Room, which could be raised from $125 to $200. Proposed rates also have reservations for the Schulte Baseball Field increasing from $50 to $175, and Fireman’s Park Baseball Field from $150 to $250.
Rau also updated the board on the Fireman’s Park restroom project, as well as Henderson Park improvements. For the restrooms, the contractor has told city officials that the restrooms should be ready within four to six weeks. For Henderson Park, city council recently rejected a sole bid for improvements, and will go back for bids opening January 9th.