Richardson parks staff proposes more than $19 million in potential bond projects

A map shows the location of proposed improvements within the Breckinridge Park system. (Courtesy city of Richardson)

A map shows the location of proposed improvements within the Breckinridge Park system. (Courtesy city of Richardson)

The city of Richardson’s Parks and Recreation department is proposing more than $19 million in capital projects to be included in a potential bond package.

Department Director Lori Smeby presented the list of projects to City Council members at a Feb. 1 meeting. The largest item would cover improvements to Breckinridge Park, estimated at $10.4 million. Projects would include trail extensions, a new pedestrian bridge, parking expansions, improved signage, a new playground and more.

One proposed trail extension would lengthen the perimeter path by an additional 1.4 miles of 10-foot wide trail. The preliminary cost for this project is $2.2 million, Smeby said.

“This would be such a tremendous addition to the Breckinridge Trail system and would get us very close to completing the loop trail,” she said.

Plans for Breckinridge also include a new playground near the Keffler Ballfields. A preliminary site drawing includes an arrival plaza, a pavilion with picnic tables, playground equipment and lawns to separate the playground from the road and parking lot.

The entire project would cost about $2 million, but council could choose to include just the first phase of construction in the bond, which would total $749,000 and cover the new play equipment.

“We think it’s a real win-win to bring a playground to this area,” Smeby said.

Also included in the parks department’s proposal is activation of a city-owned, 7-acre property at Glenville Drive and Belt Line Road. The land will serve as a detention site for regional drainage, but staff wants to build a concrete, 8-foot wide loop trail for residents to use when the weather is dry.

The preliminary cost for this project is $3.8 million but would also require $36,700 in maintenance and operation expenses, Smeby said.

Initial development of a 26-acre, city-owned property on Apollo Road is also proposed by parks staff. A concept plan for the property was presented by Smeby at the Feb. 1 meeting that would include space for athletic fields, a multi-use outdoor area and a flexible space that could house a future brick-and-mortar facility.

The preliminary cost for the entire project is more than $12 million; however, staff is proposing the bond package cover only the first phase of development, which would cost about $1 million and include expenses such as construction of the entry driveway, irrigation and landscaping and utility work.

Playground replacements at 10 area parks built between 2001 and 2007 are also included in the department’s proposal. As play structures age, it becomes difficult to find replacement parts, Smeby said. The projects have a combined cost of $3.5 million.

“After 15 years, a playground really starts to show its age. When it gets to 20, it’s really pushing it,” Smeby said.

Over the next few months, staff from various city departments will present potential projects to be included in the bond. Council is expected to approve propositions in May or June before calling the election in August. The tentative date for the bond election is Nov. 2.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.