Williamson County slims down parks projects due to construction costs

Williamson County courthouse
Williamson County commissioners voted June 29 to approve cuts from the scope of work on projects at Berry Springs Park and Champion Park. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Williamson County commissioners voted June 29 to approve cuts from the scope of work on projects at Berry Springs Park and Champion Park. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Facing a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, Williamson County officials restructured the scope of two parks projects in order to shore up budget problems.

Williamson County commissioners voted June 29 to approve cuts from the scope of work on projects at Berry Springs Park and Champion Park. The projects are funded through Williamson County’s voter-approved $447 million 2019 roads and parks bond.

At Berry Springs Park, located in northeast Georgetown, the county will cut a proposed RV camping site and a new visitors center from the project list. These cuts save the county $1.61 million from the project cost, per county documents.

The county will cut a parking lot expansion at Champion Park to get under budget, according to backup documents. The expansion would have added an additional 30 parking spaces at the public space in Cedar Park. That cut, along with a removal of funding for rehabilitation of existing lights at the park, will save the county $232,000 in the project’s budget.

“We’ve reduced the scope as much as possible to make them viable projects,” said Russell Fishbeck, parks director for Williamson County.

According to county documents, construction of those parks projects at the original scope would have put the budget over by $2.36 million due to “extreme and unusual market conditions that have increased the cost of construction supplies and materials.”

With the cuts approved by commissioners June 29, the budget for the improvements at Berry Springs Park and Champion Park still remains $389,794 over budget, county documents show.

A third project—restroom improvements at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander—is expected to go $124,000 over budget.

In all, the county expects a $513,794 shortfall from the three projects after the scope adjustments.

All three projects are in the planning and design phase, Fishbeck told commissioners.

“We feel these are beneficial to the users of these facilities, and in the end we’d still have very good amenities for our visitors,” Fishbeck said.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


A system to identify at-risk Austin Police Department employees has not been effective. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Audit finds Austin police system to flag at-risk officers is failing

Austin's city auditor and police chief agree the police department's computer program to identify at-risk officers is not fulfilling its mission.

A rise in COVID-19 cases has Travis County back in stage 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin reverts to Stage 4 guidelines with rising delta variant cases

As delta variant COVID -19 cases are sending more young people to local ICUs, The Austin-Travis County Health Authority has moved the area back to guidelines that require masks indoors.

Spicy Boys at Fairweather Cider Co.
Fried chicken food truck Spicy Boys opens new North Austin location

Spicy Boys offers customers a variety of fried chicken options, including sandwiches, chicken wings and boneless bites.

Opening day at Q2 Stadium
US men’s soccer team to visit Q2 Stadium this fall

The U.S. men's national team will host Jamaica for a FIFA World Cup qualifier game on Oct. 7.

Capital Metro is hosting a series of virtual meetings to hear feedback from the community on the latest Project Connect designs. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Capital Metro seeks community input on latest Project Connect design

Want to have your voice heard about Project Connect? Tune in to the upcoming virtual meetings.

Dozens of Austin residents spoke virtually and in person July 22 to share their thoughts on the city's proposed fiscal year 2021-22 budget. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police funding again takes center stage in public hearing on Austin's proposed FY 2021-22 budget

Dozens of city residents calling into or appearing at City Hall on July 22 shared their thoughts about policing and the city's spending plan.

Round Rock ISD announced July 22 that a virtual learning option would be provided for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, citing COVID-19 vaccine availability and Williamson County's recent increase in reported cases. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Round Rock ISD announces virtual learning for grades K-6 this fall

Round Rock ISD announced July 22 that it will offer virtual learning for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and release its COVID-19 safety plan July 29.

Mortgage purchase applications are down year over year, but the Austin housing market remains hot. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin housing market still hot but showing signs of slowing down

Experts say that a decrease in mortgage purchase applications points to “a reversion back to norm” in the Austin housing market.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Z'Tejas margarita
Where to celebrate National Tequila Day this year around Austin

From mezcal bars to frozen margarita specials, here is a list of places to celebrate National Tequila Day on July 24.

St. David's CareNow Urgent Care
St. David's CareNow Urgent Care opening new Northwest Austin clinic in August

This new clinic location will offer sports physicals, medical tests and other health care services.

Project Connect's Orange Line will go beneath Lady Bird Lake in the latest design. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Into the bedrock: Capital Metro plans to go below Lady Bird Lake with Orange Line tunnel

The tunnel presents a few options of where the train could emerge near South Congress.