The property, located just northwest of the Huffhines Recreation Center at the southwest corner of Apollo and Plano roads, will likely be turned into a field sports facility, though the details of what the facility will entail are still under consideration. The city has been working with consultants at Dunaway Associates to assess potential uses for the land, said Lori Smeby, director of the parks and recreation department.
“We’ve been waiting for the right time to start to study it and see what might be some of the options for what this piece of property could become,” Smeby said. “We now find ourselves in the position to be able to start and take a look at it, conceptually speaking.”
A five-question survey posted by the city Oct. 15 is open until Oct. 28 and asks respondents to weigh in on which field sports they play, what amenities they would like to see and in which order. A seven-minute video allows residents to learn more about the property and the city's process.
Normally, the bulk of the public input process would happen in person, but a virtual alternative makes more sense in the era of COVID-19, Smeby said.
“This is how we have to gather public input these days in lieu of being able to gather together,” she said.
The property is mostly flat and has hardly any vegetation; as such, it ought to lend itself well to sports uses, Smeby said. It is still unclear whether the facility would be indoor, outdoor or both, she added.
“We see an opportunity to maybe, long-term, turn that into something that can serve youths and adults alike from an athletics standpoint,” she said.
If a brick-and-mortar facility is built on the property, Smeby said staff would like to ensure that it is flexible enough to accommodate whatever use the department may identify as a need in the future.
“It might be that we keep a rather informal space out there that then can become a space for something else,” she said.
Anything that happens on the property would occur in phases, Smeby said. A first phase, depending on availability of funding, could simply be the construction of infrastructure. In other words, public use of the property may not happen immediately, she said.
The city is looking at the upcoming bond election as a potential avenue for funding the project, Smeby said. A vision for the property should be complete and ready to present to City Council by the end of the year, Smeby said.
“We want to hear from the community and hear their priorities based on some of the ideas we are throwing at them,” she said. “We will take it from there.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a link to the survey and more information.