$173K contract for parks master plan approved

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The city of Denison has entered into a contract with HALFF Associates for the creation of a system-wide parks and trails master plan.

Taking the first steps toward plans that reflect the current scope of the city's parks and recreation amenities, Denison moved forward with the plan recently. The City Council voted earlier this month to $173,500 contract with HALFF Associates to draft a city-wide parks and trails master plan.

The move to create a master plan comes as the city's parks and recreation resources have increased in recent years amid growth throughout the region. These new plans will better reflect the changes the city has seen over the last decade.

"Simply described, the parks and trails master plan will serve as the guiding document for anticipated growth and development within the city of Denison ... and it will reflect the community's collective goals and vision for the future," Parks and Recreation Director Justin Eastwood said.

The current push for a parks master plan follows the 2018 city comprehensive plan, which recommended the creation of a parks plan to address the city's recreation priorities.

"The top things our citizens said they wanted were parks, green spaces and multi-purpose trails," Mayor Janet Gott said, referring to recent planning efforts. "So, I think that reinforces the appropriateness of this master plan."

One of the city's last planning efforts for parks and recreation came with the drafting of the 2013 parks plan. However, some of the city's current amenities were not reflected in this document, with some not even in the planning stages at that point. This includes Texoma Health Foundation Park, which opened in 2018, and Loy Park, which was transferred from Grayson County to Denison late last year.

Even the Katy Trail, which is slated to enter into its second phase in the near future, wasn't fully realized at that time.

Interim City Manager Bobby Atteberry said the plan will likely include smaller, individualized plans for many of the city's parks. The 2013 version limited this primarily to the larger parks in the system, including Waterloo Lake Regional Park.

"I think we will see something like that for all of them, actually," Atteberry said, noting the differences between the parks. "Loy Park is over 200 acres and it will have a different feel." 

This month's signing represents the culmination of planning work for the city. Officials release a request for proposals for the plan in November, with HALFF ranking highest in all criteria.

The project will be finances through a variety of funding sources. About $109,000 will come from the city's parks and recreation fund, with an additional $9,000 coming from park maintenance funding. An additional $64,000 will need to be included in the upcoming 2022 budget.