The county’s Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to adopt the updated plan that creates a blueprint for the development of county-owned parks and trails over the next decade. The yearlong process also focused on expanding the parks system and making existing parkland improvements as well as operations and maintenance needs.
Nature trails for hiking within parks; paved walking and biking trails; and regional greenways for walking, running and biking ranked as the most important park amenities among 526 respondents to an online survey conducted as part of the update process that also included public meetings.
“There was a desire to have more access to trails throughout the county,” said Jordan Maddox, a project manager with the Halff Associates consultancy that helped develop the update.
Maddox said linking trails throughout the county would likely require future partnerships with cities, utility districts and private developers.
Although the conceptual plan does not include cost estimates for future development, it does suggest funding strategies, including allocating money from the county’s budget, using proceeds from bond sales, entering into partnerships with other public and private entities, and seeking money through philanthropic grants.
More specifically, the update includes recommendations on how future regional trails could be designed. The update’s preferred recommendation includes paved trails between 12 and 14 feet wide to allow shared use for walkers, runners and cyclists.
Alternative design recommendations include:
- Paved trails between 10 feet and 12 feet wide that could be built near public streets
- Dual-surface trails between 12 and 14 feet wide that would include 4- to 6-foot-wide jogging and walking lanes made of decomposed granite or other materials suitable for pedestrians
Williamson County’s parks and trails system includes 24.2 miles of trails, including 4.3 miles inside Berry Springs Park & Preserve in Georgetown and 3.7 miles inside Southwest Regional Park in Leander.
Additional meeting highlights
- The commission adopted a resolution to declare Williamson County a Purple Heart County to recognize members of the U.S. military wounded during service. Jim Bracken, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Texas Capital Chapter 1919, told commissioners that a formal ceremony for the county’s recognition will take place Nov. 9 during the Rotary Club of Georgetown’s Field of Honor display, which includes an installation of American flags in San Gabriel Park to honor of U.S. veterans and emergency responders.
- County Judge Dan Gattis issued a 90-day countywide outdoor burn ban, which replaces a disaster declaration for a separate burn ban issued last Friday. The ban will expire Oct. 22 unless Gattis or the court decides to end it earlier. The ban prohibits burning of household yard waste as well as burning to clear trees or vegetation. Violations can result in a “class C” misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $500.
- Commissioners approved an amendment to the county’s fiscal year 2017-18 budget to transfer $741,000 to the capital projects fund for repair work related to the February discovery of what is now called Cambria Cave. On Feb. 8, residents of the 8400 block of Cambria Drive in Round Rock reported a water outage. Responding Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District utility workers discovered the cause of the outage was a collapse of the water line into a relatively large cave.
- Commissioners approved an agreement with Taylor ISD to have the Williamson County sheriff’s deputy serve as a school resource officer at Taylor High School. Precinct 4 Commissioner Larry Madsen, who represents eastern Williamson County areas including Taylor, said a Taylor Police Department officer serves as a resource officer at the city’s high school, but Taylor ISD would like a second resource officer in the school. Taylor police will be able to take over the resource officer position from the county sheriff’s office in August 2019 ahead of the start of Taylor ISD’s 2019-20 school year, Madsen said. Taylor ISD will cover the cost of having a county sheriff’s deputy to serve as a school resource officer for the next year.