Improvements coming to a park near you

Playground equipment for the new Golden Bear Park was approved for purchase by city council on June 25.

Playground equipment for the new Golden Bear Park was approved for purchase by city council on June 25.

Georgetown residents can expect to see continued improvements and additions to area parks, including San Gabriel Park (pictured), through the second half of 2019 and into next year.

Director of Parks and Recreation Kimberley Garrett updated City Council on current and future projects June 25.

Current Projects
San Gabriel Park Phase 2 and trail

The grand opening of the San Gabriel Park project Phase 1 and the groundbreaking of Phase 2 was last September.

New amenities include pavilions, a playground, swings, a basketball court, parking, accessible routes, signage, a restroom and spring restoration—there are three natural springs in San Gabriel Park.

Included in Phase 2 was a trail extension to link the park to nearby Katy Crossing subdivision. The city is waiting on $200,000 in approved state funding to come through, Garrett said, adding the extension will take about 90 days to complete once construction begins.

The International Order of Odd Fellows columbarium
The columbarium—a structure containing niches for funeral urns—was completed earlier this spring. It contains 144 niches with room for expansion.

VFW softball complex parking lot addition
Work on additional parking at the VFW softball complex on Second Street was completed in March with 53 more spaces added for a total of 150. The additional spaces make parking more organized and keep the area safer in that part of town, Garrett said.

Golden Bear Park
The city is developing a 2.7-acre lot in Berry Creek to become Golden Bear Park. A public input meeting was held May 21 where residents listed a playground as their No. 1 priority, followed by trails and adult exercise equipment. Due to limited parking, residents did not want any large attraction that would draw extra traffic. The purchase of playground equipment for Golden Bear Park was approved at the June 25 meeting.

Proposed 2020 Projects
Design for San Gabriel Park Phase 3

As the city wraps up Phase 2, it would like to move right into designing what Phase 3 will consist of, Garrett said. It will likely incorporate a large central green area, new entrance signage, a barbecue pit, a pavilion and restroom updates, creating some kind of water feature and more.

“The plan would be to design Phase 3 in 2020 and move forward with the construction in 2021,” Garrett said.

Updating the parks master plan
The city’s current parks master plan was last updated in 2009, and many of the top priorities have since been accomplished, Garrett said.

“We’re continuing to develop neighborhood parks and work on trail extensions,” she said. “But we’ve also grown substantially in the last 10 years, so we need to reach out to the community and re-figure out priorities.”

A master plan also gives the parks and recreation department a timeline for future possible bonds and more opportunities for grants.

“For many grants, you must show you are engaged with the community in the planning process,” Garrett said.

Demolish pool at the tennis center
The pool, which was built in 1978, is no longer worth the cost of upkeep, according to Garrett. It would cost about $450,000 to bring it up to code, and considering there are two other similar, traditional-style pools within a 3-mile radius, this would not be a good use of funds, Garrett said.

Rather than closing it and letting it sit idle and become a possible safety hazard, she said parks staff recommended demolishing it for about $70,000.

Heritage Community Gardens redevelopments
The 19-acre Heritage Community Gardens is located in southeast Georgetown, an area that has seen a lot of recent growth, Garrett said. The park has minimal support facilities, and parks staff think the site could be redeveloped as an educational garden and also provide other recreational activities.

By Sally Grace Holtgrieve

Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.


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