Sports fields, outdoor programming highlight year ahead for Pflugerville Parks and Recreation

Stone Hill Park

Stone Hill Park

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What is coming to Pflugerville parks in 2018?
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Timeline of park developments in 2018
Pflugerville is poised to harvest the efforts of 2017’s active construction and design work on several of the city’s parks.

Two parklands – the new Stone Hill Park and Pflugerville’s ambitious 1849 Park – will open in 2018, offering new amenities and recreation.

Stone Hill Park, the city’s third new park in as many years, is slated to partially open in the spring. The Pflugerville Parks and Recreation Department developed nine acres of land on the park property to include open field space for sport practice, loop trails, a playground and more.

The city will open a fenced-in dog park in Stone Hill Park sometime this spring – just the second dog park in Pflugerville. James Hemenes, director of Pflugerville Parks and Recreation, predicts that the parks department will work alongside the Pflugerville Animal Welfare Services for events like adoption drives.

Residents can expect to utilize portions of Pflugerville’s 1849 Park before the end of the year, as well. Hemenes said that the second half construction is currently underway for the park’s initial phase, which will introduce sports fields essential to the city’s practice facility stock.

“This all started from a needs assessment and feasibility study for youth sports,” Hemenes said. “It [1849 Park] addresses a significant need, and that’s practice space.”

This year, the parks and recreation department will also get the ball rolling on Wilbarger Creek Park. The property, formerly known as Highland Park, is a large 110-acre swath of parkland, much of which is preserved as open space in the parks master plan.

Hemenes said the Wilbarger Creek Park project is scheduled to go out to bid for construction estimates by the end of winter, though the parks director doesn’t expect to see anything on the ground before early 2019. Designs for the park currently include an all-abilities park for children with special needs and connections to existing walking trails. In all, Hemenes said the parks department has put in $1.2 million worth of trail gaps over the past two years.

“We’ve done a lot with voter approved money. Now, we’re trying to get these projects done so [residents] see if they approve funds for us we’ll give them what they want,” Hemenes said.

All of this work is rolled into a grander scheme for the parks department. The department recently brought on a recreation center director and Hemenes’ team is expanding its popular programming, such as music in the park, and is looking to test the waters with outdoor-immersive initiatives.

“We want to have this focus on nature and nature areas to provide an opportunity to get adults and kids outside and get educated,” said Maggie Holman, special events coordinator for Pflugerville.

The parks department is considering the city’s exponential growth in the foreground of its planning analysis. Hemenes and his team will conduct feasibility and needs assessments for the Pflugerville Recreation Center and the city’s aquatics facilities. Already, the city has plans to double the size of the senior center in the Recreation Center in late spring 2018.

But the city will have to wrestle with plans for facilities like Gilleland Creek Pool, Pflugerville’s only city-owned competition pool. The pool has flooded three times in the past four years, causing significant damages, not to mention that the pool itself was built 25 years ago, according to Hemenes.

“We are looking at doing work on it to make sure it lasts another 25 years, but the community has outgrown it,” Hemenes said. “The needs of a community of 100,000 people are much different than the needs of a community of 60,000.”
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.


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