Visioning stage begins for Denison parks project

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The city of Denison is asking for public input on long-range plans for its parks and recreation amenities.

The city of Denison is asking residents for their visions and input on the future of parks and trails in the city.

City staff is expected to hold a open house to discuss its ongoing parks and trails master plan project Thursday. The meeting is expected to outline potential projects and priorities for the city's parks and recreation amenities for years to come. Through this meeting, city leaders hope to gather priority amenities and projects from the public which can be used to help form a blueprint for parks projects for the next decade.

"The master plan is essentially the guiding document we are going to utilize to identify how we should put together our parks and trails system with all the growth coming to the city and quality of life," Parks and Recreation Director Justin Eastwood said.

The master plan comes as the city is looking to simultaneously create guide that interconnect with the city's 2018 comprehensive plan, another of the city's guiding documents, while also incorporating changes that have occurred in the landscape of Denison. Previous documents did not discuss or include recent amenities such as the region Texoma Health Foundation Park, or the addition of Loy Park, which was granted to the city last year by Grayson County.

"Essentially this is us gathering information to identify what is most important needs and wants would be from the community's perspective," Eastwood said. "Once we have the plan, we will have clear vision."

Through next week's meeting, Eastwood said he wanted to gauge public opinion on interconnectivity, walkability and trails throughout the park system. This will include ways to connect park spaces to both residential and business areas.

Other components will include feedback and guidance on future park amenities, he said.

Eastwood was reluctant to focus on any specific parks that may receive updates in the plan. However, he said THF Park will likely be highlighted as the city focuses on connecting it to its surrounding amenities, including Loy Park, which is expected to also see a formalized design as a part of the park plan. Waterloo Lake Regional Park is also expected to be a focus area.

Eastwood said the Katy Soccer practice fields could also be highlighted as an amenity and resource under the plan.

"We feel with its proximity off Crawford, and the potential there, we could enhance the design," he said. "So, we are looking to get feedback on what that best looks like. Eventually we want to explore, what does that look like coming into our historic down town."

The meeting will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at City Hall.