Park projects take the lead in Sherman budget talks

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
City leaders gathered last week for a series of budget talks on subjects that will likely come up during the upcoming budget retreat. Among these topics are a series of proposed park improvements to area parks.

As budget season approaches, Sherman leaders are considering investing in area parks.

Members of the City Council discussed proposed projects in city parks this past week as a part of a capital improvements meeting which allowed city leaders to discuss possible projects ahead of the city's annual budget retreat in June.

Among the projects that was discussed during the meeting was an expansion of the Fairview Park tennis courts, which have been in high demand recently for pickleball.

"Pickleball has become very popular and the current pickleball courts ... are actively used all the time," Assistant City Manager Clint Philpott said. "So, there have been requests to expand the tennis courts to include additional courts."

If approved by the city council, the project is expected to cost about $240,000.

Council Member Shawn Teamann said that pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. However, Council Member Josh Stevenson pushed back on the need for pickleball courts and instead said he would like to see more basketball courts at the park. He noted that there are few and smaller basketball courts at the park, which are positioned near a playground, he said.

"When I take my kids to Fairview Park, it isn't the pickleball players dropping F-bombs trying to play basketball on a half court around four-year-olds," he said. "It is the teenagers who don't have a place to play basketball."

"If my kids are going to learn four-letter words, they are going going to learn them from me," he later joked.

While there are courts elsewhere in the city, he noted that resources at Fairview are limited. City staff said that Sherman would need to give up some soccer practice space in order to fit more basketball courts in the park.

Other projects that are being considered include the second phase of work at the new Pecan Grove Athletic Complex. The city plans to follow up last year's opening by increasing shading at the site, with an estimated budget of $270,000

Staff also wish to expand walking trails around Baker Lake, which has seen adjacent development recently. This project is expected to cost $50,000.