Sitting at one of Pflugerville’s community parks during the 47th annual Deutschen Pfest, resident Hannah Schroeder said she’s happy the city is making more plans to improve public spaces.

For her, getting to take her children down a trail to a local playground is a routine activity.

“It’s one of the few things I can think of for people to do that’s free,” she said. “I mean, I used one to walk down to the festival.”

Having options for people to be active outdoors is something city officials are hoping to expand. Pflugerville Parks and Recreation Director Shane Mize said it’s also become an expectation from citizens in recent years.

Two-minute impact

Pflugerville City Council approved a 10-year Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan on Sept. 26. The plan establishes a guide for how current and future leaders will manage the city’s parks and trails over the next decade.

Pflugerville’s plan—a 218-page document built by dozens of city staff and a team of consultants—resulted in a list of 29 goals and objectives for improving the park system. The plan includes tasks such as providing more parks within a close distance to homes, expanding trails, planting more trees and other developments.

The master plan includes objectives and goals to:
  • Provide a new recreation center
  • Increase aquatic activities
  • Expand group fitness opportunities
  • Provide adult sport activities
  • Expand indoor walking/running activities
  • Improve trail connections
  • Provide more shade
  • Acquire more space
The context

Pflugerville has more than 1,000 acres of developed park land, over 50 miles of trails within the city limits, three community pools and a recreation center. Around 80% of residents have a 10-minute walk to a park space, which is the highest percentage for any city in the state, according to a study by parks staff.

The goal, though, is to provide all of the city’s residents with a short walk to a park.

“This document tells future councils that that was our intention,” Place 1 council member Doug Weiss said. “We should keep building more parks, and we’ve got it in writing now.”

Mize said there were multiple reasons to write out a plan. For example, parks and recreation departments with an up-to-date master plan are eligible for state grant funding.

The city’s last parks master plan was ratified in 2013. The city has also grown in population over the last 10 years, and the parks themselves are expected to see 1 million visitors annually moving forward.

“There was barely an iPhone back then,” Mize said. “If you think about it, the world’s just totally different. ... It felt like a great time to figure out next steps. This city is really booming.”
The details

Parks staff spent months polling the community for input. They mailed postcards, provided online surveys and spoke with residents at city events.

“Over 30,000 touch points to hear voices for a planning effort is something the industry has never seen,” said Jason Genck, of consulting firm BerryDunn.

Mize said the top four goals the community wants to see are providing more shaded areas, increasing aquatic activities, building more sports facilities, and making new trails. The results highlight a trend, Mize said, of residents wanting more things to do closer to home.

Parks staff also identified concerns through its community engagement, finding:
  • 95% of community members believe needs are not met or partly met for people with disabilities.
  • 40% of community members do not know what programs the parks department offers.
  • 23% of community members do not know the locations of parks and facilities.
Did you know?

While reviewing other cities and what activities they provide, Mize said the planning team discovered Pflugerville has more public trails per capita than any other city in the state. With more than 71 miles of public sidewalks and bike trails inside of Pflugerville’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, the city has since proclaimed itself Trail Capital Texas.

Plans are underway to build off the system as well. Over 150 miles of new trails have been proposed in and around the city. Once built out, more than 90% of residents will have trail access within a half-mile of their home.

The city of Pflugerville’s trail system features:
  • 56 miles of public trails
  • 71.2 miles of trails when combined with trails in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction
  • 1.4 miles of trail per 2,000 residents
  • With the addition of 150 miles of trails, 94.8% of Pflugerville residents will have trail access within 0.5 miles of their homes
Looking ahead

With a plan now in place, park staff have other projects in mind.

After allocating $17.1 million to capital improvement projects in fiscal year 2022-23, another $28.9 million in spending is planned over the next three years. The majority of this funding has come from bond elections in 2014 and 2020.

In the spring, the city plans to begin work on Phase 2 of 1849 Park at a cost of $14.4 million, which includes six new sports fields, a facility with concession and restroom areas.

he parks and recreation department also has $10.4 million budgeted to go to improvements at Lake Pflugerville Park between 2023-25; another $1.4 million is planned for a destination playspace, which city staff will be searching a location for; and Pflugerville City Council is reviewing construction contracts worth around $3.3 million to begin Phase 2 of Wilbarger Creek Park.

One of the biggest projects Mize has his eyes on is the city’s future recreation center, to be part of Pflugerville's Downtown East development project. In May, the city issued $153 million worth of bonds to dedicate to the project.

“Our city is pursuing this Downtown East project where you’ll have a 120,000-foot rec center,” Mize said. “You’ll have restaurants. You’ll have retail. You’ll have a farmers market. We’re trying to make that holistically something everyone finds value in.”