Less scrolling, more rolling–that’s one of the slogans for the Lake Travis Trail Coalition.

Lakeway’s existing bike trail network is expansive but difficult, said Mike Girard, president of the LTTC and former Lake Travis ISD mountain biking coach.

As city leaders weighed changes to their parks plan in recent months, Girard and area biking athletes showed up in droves to advocate for more beginner-friendly trails in the community, Girard said.

“There just aren’t really any places for kids to ride their bikes,” Girard said. “The more kids that get out and fall in love with bikes ... the better for the team.”

As a result, bike trails are one of many projects in Lakeway’s upcoming $22 million parks and amenities bond going before residents in May, seeking to revamp the city’s public parks system and more.

Two-minute impact

Five projects are included in the parks bond, with accommodations for both existing and new parks.

Lakeway City Park improvements are the largest financial undertaking in the bond, which would add a beginner skills bike park, a skate park, a new activity center, four potential pickleball courts and an all-abilities playground.

If approved, the bond would also create a new 9.5-acre park called Butler Park, Lakeway Parks and Recreation Director Andra Bennett said. The park would include two ninja courses, three pickleball courts, an amphitheater, an all-abilities playground, sports fields and more.

“We wanted a space for kids to be able to run and play and explore,” Bennett said. “We’re looking at adding a more nature-based playscape that blends in with the natural environment.”

Various improvements are also slated for the Lakeway Activity Center, Lakeway Swim Center and the Live Oak Tennis Courts within the bond.

Projects include:

1) Butler/Rough Hollow Park (future location)
  • 2 ninja courses, multipurpose field, Little League Baseball field
  • Playground, beginner mountain biking trail, amphitheater
2) Lakeway Activity Center
  • Nature playground and picnic areas
  • Enhanced landscape areas
3) Lakeway City Park
  • 4 possible pickleball courts, basketball court
  • Skate park for all skill levels, beginner skills bike park, trail improvements
  • All-abilities playground renovation, picnic pavilion
4) Lakeway Swim Center
  • Splash pad, lazy river addition and catch pool
  • 8-lane lap pool, obstacle course pool
  • Playscape, lawn games, sports field
5) Live Oak Tennis Courts
  • Replace existing tennis courts, add one new tennis court
  • Replace retaining wall, add practice wall
  • Sports plaza
Source: city of Lakeway/Community Impact

The cost

After the bond was called Feb. 5, the city worked with an engineering firm to solidify the conceptual phases and final cost estimates for each project.

These updated amounts were presented at the March 4 City Council meeting. As the largest project amongst the five, Lakeway City Park is split into multiple phases, with initial steps focused on setting the groundwork for future improvements.

If approved, the city would review applications from parties interested in overseeing the projects to see who best fits the city’s needs, Lakeway City Manager Joseph Molis said.

The total estimated cost for the Lakeway City Park projects will be almost $11 million, while the next highest priority projects at the Lakeway Swim Center will cost approximately $6 million, according to city documents. The remaining three projects fall between $500,000 and just over $2 million.

Households in Lakeway can expect an average increase of $9 in annual property taxes if the bond passes, according to the city.

The backstory

The parks projects bond election amount was scaled back from $28.7 million to $22 million after the city received resident feedback via town hall events and an annual community survey, according to prior reporting by Community Impact.

The Lakeway Parks & Open Space Master Plan was something the city worked on after passing the city’s third Comprehensive Master Plan in 2020—which outlined a strategy to keep the city moving forward for the next 20 years—according to previous reporting by Community Impact.

Goal 7 of the comprehensive plan sought to build and renew city parks and facilities, resulting in the creation of the Lakeway Parks & Open Space Master Plan in 2021.

Projects for the bond were part of the Lakeway Parks & Open Space Master Plan.

Why it matters

Some Lakeway residents remain excited about the prospect of the additions and upgrades to city parks and facilities that are part of the bond package, while others want the city to invest more into the parks rather than scale it down.

Lakeway resident Chase Hop said he is a professional BMX rider who has lived in Lakeway for three years at a Jan. 16 City Council meeting. Hop said he is a frequent visitor of the current skate park at the Lakeway Swim Center, and he was excited at the prospect of one being added for all skill levels to Lakeway City Park.

“I definitely think there’s a big need for it,” Hop said. “I also think that the one that exists currently is really difficult to ride, even for someone on a professional level, like myself.”

Lakeway resident Larry Harlan said at a Feb. 5 meeting that seeing the bond amount shrink from the original $28.7 million means some important projects will be eliminated.

“The reality of that is there are a number of very valuable projects that are probably going to either be eliminated or downsized as we move forward,” Harlan said.

What’s next?

Lakeway’s bond wouldn’t be the only driving force for park improvements in the area, if approved. Planning for land acquisition, conservation and more near Lake Travis began last November following the passage of Travis County’s $509 million road and parks bond.

If the Lakeway bond passes, the city estimates projects will take 2-3 years to complete. If the bond fails, however, Molis said the city would have to regroup.

“If it was the cost, we may decide to come back with a lower cost bond,” Molis said.

In the event the bond fails due to residents resisting any type of bond, Molis said the city could try to fund a smaller number of projects with capital reserve and parkland dedication funds, but that the scope of those projects would be “greatly reduced.”

Early voting for the May election will be April 22-30, and election day is May 4.

Cost per household

If the parks bond passes, households can expect a slight increase in taxes collected.
  • $9: average additional collected in taxes annually if Lakeway parks bond passes
  • $57: average in taxes annually from Travis County parks bond passed in November