County Comes to Decision About Parks After Recent Debate
Tom Green County Commissioners’ Court came to a decision about the master plan program for county parks on Tuesday. The decision in question concerns an agreement for Naismith Engineering to inspect county parks and help create a master plan for these parks. The master plan will then be sent to Texas Parks and Wildlife in an attempt to qualify for a grant that would present the county parks with thousands of dollars.
This agenda item was tabled last week by the commissioners after what County Judge Steve Floyd referred to as “a brief discussion.”
“I was just concerned there last week that this is already happening,” Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher said. “This person is already working. This should’ve been approved awhile back. That was my concern. And I want to make sure that it’s for all the parks in the county.”
Commissioner Bill Ford, who is heading the parks project, assured Hoelscher that benefiting all the parks in the county is the intent of the project. Hoelscher asked if not getting the engineer approved earlier was an oversight.
“It was my fault,” Ford said. “I didn’t know what the requirements were for the Parks and Wildlife grant, what they needed. It’s very extensive and a whole lot that goes into it.”
After Hoelscher asked where the funding for the engineers’ $26,355 fee would come from, Commissioner Rick Bacon explained that the cost was in the budget; the commissioners’ were voting to move the funding from one line item under the parks budget to another line item.
Floyd, who was absent from last week’s court, pointed out that the commissioners voted to go through with the initial steps for the parks master plan back in September.
“Between planning for detention center construction and a host of other things, I think it got somewhat lost in the shuffle,” Floyd said.
Floyd also stated that it would take a while for each step toward the grant to be completed, and the court has multiple opportunities to not go forward on the plan if the commissioners so desire.
“I’ve never heard anyone in the county say that they’re against parks,” Floyd said. “Parks are somewhat like libraries; it’s hard to be against those. Libraries are accessed by a fairly decent segment of the population. Our county parks are probably enjoyed by a much smaller segment of the total taxpayer population, but it’s a necessary thing that we do.”
Commissioner Aubrey deCordova said that he made the motion to table the parks agenda item last week mainly so the judge could return and have some input.
“I still have pretty strong reservations about getting into the park business, but since this is already underway, basically, and we need to pay our bills, I will support it,” deCordova said.
Ford’s motion to accept the agreement with Naismith Engineering was then passed unanimously by the court.
A parks committee meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 1, in the Sugg Community Room in the library. Public input will be accepted at 7:30 p.m.
For more about the commissioners’ debate over the parks master plan last week, check out San Angelo LIVE!’s previous article.
Additionally, these are the Parks Master Plan committee members: