The Brenham Parks and Recreation Advisory Board discussed a laundry list of local park projects planned for the 2020-21 Fiscal Year at its meeting today (Wednesday).
Board members heard from city officials as they provided updates on large projects like the first phase of the Brenham Family Park and Phase II of the Henderson Park splash pad, along with several other projects varying in scale.
Phase I(a) of the Brenham Family Park is projected to cost $1.7 million, but the city in August was approved for a grant of $750,000 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for the project. Proposed developments include walking and biking trails, landscaping, picnic facilities, restrooms, a parking lot, road expansion, and lake development.
Public Works Director Dane Rau said with the city being approved for the grant, a project timeline now looks much clearer.
Execution of the grant agreement is expected to come in April 2021. Submission of a construction plan will come within six months of the grant agreement date, but depends on the timeline of documents submitted to the state for the project. Construction on the first phase is estimated to begin in August 2021 and conclude in February 2023.
When discussing potential improvements to the splash pad, Rau said the first season for the new water feature was positively received, and the city did not want to wait long to make further improvements.
Some of the most requested amenities for the splash pad, according to a survey recently taken by visitors, include a closer restroom, additional seating, and extra shade. A new shade canopy is planned to be installed in February or March, using a $50,000 grant from the H-E-B Tournament of Champions Charitable Trust.
Plans were also discussed to incorporate some form of landscaping or fencing along North Valley Street to add a barrier between the splash pad and the roadway. There are also plans to add breakout picnic or seating areas under the native pecan trees, along with additional benches around the perimeter of the splash pad.
The board also discussed options for some of the old infrastructure at Fireman’s Park and Henderson Park, specifically the old restroom facilities at the parks. While no action was taken, the board is considering taking down the restroom near Fink and Korthauer Fields at Henderson Park, then adding a sidewalk to connect the two softball fields to the hike and bike trail, which would take visitors to the newly upgraded restrooms and concessions. It is also looking to rework the WPA restroom facility at Fireman’s Park for storage or another purpose.
Other projects discussed at the meeting that are funded this year included the replacement of the flat roof at the Blue Bell Aquatic Center and the addition of a playground at Jerry Wilson Park, planned for expense between October and December; the replacement of the outfield wall at Fireman’s Park, to be spent between January and March of 2021; the addition of covered basketball courts at Jackson Street Park and further improvements at Jerry Wilson Park, budgeted between April and June of 2021; and the repainting of steel beams, replastering of the competition pool and addition of a new handicap lift at the Blue Bell Aquatic Center, scheduled for expense between July and September of 2021.
The board also heard from Ben Seeker and Don Holley of the Washington County Veterans Association (WCVA), who detailed the WCVA’s plans for a restoration project at the American Legion Memorial Plaza. Seeker said there are approximately 3,000 bricks at the plaza that are inscribed with the names of local veterans, but over the years the lettering on many of those bricks have faded.
Seeker said the WCVA is looking to “revitalize” the bricks, but it would be too time-consuming to re-stencil them individually. He said the organization has contacted Jacob Janda of Janda Monument Company and Cemetery Services of Giddings to redo all of the bricks, along with the columns at the plaza.
Seeker said the money for the project will come from the WCVA and from donations. He said the project will be done during the winter.
During city staff reports, it was announced that board members Matthew Wehring and Luis Mendoza will not be returning to the board after the expiration of their term on December 31st.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board:
- Approved the implementation of the Little Free Library program in Brenham parks. Locke said the Fortnightly Club of Brenham will be responsible for monies raised for the program, materials required for installation, and books for the Little Free Libraries. The Parks and Recreation Department will select sites for the Little Free Libraries, choose the styles for them, and install and maintain them. Locke said Suzy Hankins, a member of the Fortnightly Club, was contacted by a resident who offered to build Little Free Libraries at park sites and donate materials and time to build. The Fortnightly Club has raised funds to begin the program through the Brenham Book Fest held in September, while several individuals and businesses have reached out to the club to potentially sponsor the Little Free Libraries.
- Approved recommended changes to the 2021 Parks and Recreation fee schedule. The changes eliminate the field light fee of $50 per day and increase the cost per field rental by $25.