Loy Park transfer on Denison agenda

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The Mayor arena at Loy Lake Park fills up as the goat showing gets underway in 2017. The city of Denison is considering an agreement that would transfer Loy Lake Park from Grayson County to the city.

Denison may soon become the proud owner of Loy Lake Park.  City Council is expected to consider an interlocal agreement Monday that would transfer Loy Park from Grayson County to the city of Denison.

Grayson County Commissioners will still need to agree to their own agreement before the transfer takes place.

Documents for Monday's meeting indicate that the county is interested in transferring the park to the city as it sits in the middle of the city's growth area and is immediately adjacent to city limits.

The no-cost transfer would allow the city to take full ownership of the 200-acre park site and all of its amenities and assume all existing leases and maintenance. The city also plans to create a steering committee and master plan to guide future development of the park site.

Future improvements will be financed by reserving 25 percent of revenue collected in TIRZ #4, which covers portions of Denison generally west of U.S. Highway 75. The county will also be participating by contributing 75 percent of its revenue.

The city has budgeted $100,000 to cover the costs of the transfer, which includes expenses for the park, Frontier Village and the Texoma Exposition & Livestock Show.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers noted that the Livestock Show and Frontier Village both own their facilities but have a long-term ground lease. These leases will be honored, he said.

The city of Denison will considera lease agreement for office space in the Katy Depot building.

In other matters, Denison City leaders will consider entering into a commercial lease with Katy Depot Denison for office space, meeting space and for a new Denison Visitor Center.

The move comes after private developers announce plans in October to redevelop the site with a mixture of office, event space and residential uses. The building also sits along what will be the first phase of the Designing Downtown Denison project, also known as D3, which will see major improvements and an overhaul to Main Street.

City officials said Friday that the city is considering space within the former depot for Main Street, Tourism and Community Engagement staff. 

By moving staff to the new site, the city will be able to house the related departments in the same space and make it easier for residents and stakeholders to access these services, said Aaron Werner, Denison managing director of communications and engagement. This will also allow the city to free up space in City Hall for future growth.

During the D3 project, the future visitor's center would be used as office space for Piazza Construction, who are working on the project. Once the project is completed, this space would then be transitioned into the "Denison Experience," with a visitor's center and museum.

City leaders will also consider a lease agreement with the Homeless Empowerment Action Team for a 6,170-square-foot parcel along Crawford Street.

HEAT announced plans earlier this year to purchase a building at 1030 W. Crawford St. for the purpose of opening a service facility for the city's homeless population. The building with provide shower and laundry services, and house a soup kitchen. 

As a part of the move, HEAT is also considering a lease on a neighboring property. The city of Denison is offering to assist in this effort.

Under the news of the agreement, Heat will pay the city $2,860 for total annual costs for the property. During the first year, the city will pay half of this cost.