The city proposed before the council designing three kayak launches: one at the Hwy. 270 boat ramp, one at Clear Creek and North Kansas Avenue at the site of a future park, and one into a Clear Creek tributary that will be built during the construction of North Landing Boulevard near Myrtle Park.
The first two would be constructed in 2022, and the last one at Landing Boulevard would be constructed in 2023, said Chien Wei, the city's director of parks and cultural services.
The city asked the council for approval to spend about $440,000 to design the boat ramps. The money would come from the city’s 4B funds, which is money set aside for sports facilities and related expenses.
Some council members thought this cost was too much. Council Member Nick Long said $440,000 to design kayak launches is an “astronomical” amount.
Council Member Hank Dugie agreed spending $440,000 for design sounds “outrageous.” Still, Dugie said he saw the value in created new kayak launches.
“I think we have sadly underused our water ways in our history, so I think it’s time we changed that,” he said.
Wei explained costs include Army Corps of Engineers permits, Texas Department of Transportation permits, wetland delineation, archeological studies, consulting and more.
When pressed, Wei said the first and second launches would cost $248,000 for design and $412,000 for construction. The third launch would cost $190,000 for design, $294,000 for land acquisition and $780,000 for construction. It is more expensive because it would take land extension to get from Landing Boulevard to the tributary to launch, Wei said.
“Seems very expensive. [Spending] $1.2 million to launch kayaks is a whole lot of money,” Long said, referring to the cost of the third project.
Part of the large expense for the third boat ramp will be getting access to the nearby Myrtle Park. The subdivision it abuts to does not want to give League City access, Council Member Larry Millican said.
“Myrtle Park is a gem, and we need to get access to it,” he said.
Wei agreed. One of the reasons the city wanted to move forward with the third kayak launch was it would give the city future access to Myrtle Park, he said.
The council voted 6-1 to approve funding the design of the first two launches but not the third. City Manager John Baumgartner said the city will take a closer look at the cost of the third project and bring it back before the council if appropriate.
The council also unanimously approved applying for a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department grant that could fund up to $250,000 of the design costs.
League City already has three kayak launches: one at Walter Hall Park, one at Heritage Park and one at Lynn Gripon Park at Countryside. In 2017, the city started to pursue creating more, Wei said.
Recently, city officials expressed an interest in adding boat launches and boat rental facilities to promote tourism and outdoor activities.