The 113-page plan was produced by Burditt Consultants, a firm that specializes in community planning and landscape architecture, and includes roughly $9.4 million in projects that range from adding restrooms at existing parks to the development of a new skate park.
However, the plan does not immediately commit funding to any specific projects, said Robert Basford, Jersey Village's parks and recreation director.
“This plan is to be a guide, not necessarily an adopted budget,” he said at a March 15 Jersey Village City Council meeting.
Projects were determined using a mix of resident feedback, consultant advice, and standards laid out by the National Recreation and Parks Association, Basford said. The plan divides projects up into three tiers: high priority, medium priority and low priority. Ten projects were classified as high priority in the plan with a combined cost of $595,000. High-priority projects include a $100,000 project to build family restrooms at Carol Fox Park, a $120,000 project to add a 120-foot baseball field at Clark Henry Park and $80,000 to add amenities to the Jersey Meadow Nature Trail, such as benches, bike racks and picnic tables.
Another eight projects were listed as medium priority, totaling $361,000, and 42 projects were listed as low priority, totaling roughly $8.5 million. Some projects that were panned in resident feedback and were under consideration to be removed from the plan entirely—including the development of a new $2.4 million park on Pleasant Colony Drive—were placed under the low-priority category instead, Basford said.
The plan was first presented to the Jersey Village City Council at a Feb. 22 meeting, at which the council ordered a city Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee to make some changes and more clearly prioritize projects.
One project pitched in the February draft—the construction of a new gymnasium—was removed from the final draft after council members said it was not economically feasible. Language referring to the potential use of general obligation bonds to fund projects was also removed from the final draft at council’s request.
The committee also provided its own list of 11 projects to be included in the plan that came from internal discussions, Basford said. Nine of those projects are also considered high priority, including the placement of bike repair stations at several city parks and the development of a skate park. However, where the skate park would be located is still to be determined.
Greg Holden, council member at the time, said at the March 15 meeting that he disagreed with some of the projects included in the plan, including a proposal for the city to build and operate its own fitness center, an endeavor Holden said should be left to the private sector. However, Holden said he supported adopting the plan as a reflection of what community members said they wanted.
“If it is representative of the input provided, then I think as a council we accept it and then we make those decisions down the road,” he said. “Whether it’s done or not, it represents someone’s desire to do that.”
Timelines for individual projects are not set, and projects would be taken on as future councils choose to advance them, said Bobby Warren, who was a council member at the time and has since been elected mayor. He said he thought the projects listed as high priorities were a realistic goal for the next 10 years, and projects from elsewhere in the plan could rise up over time.
“Council is going to parse this out and take the things everyone can agree on and most of the community wants to do ... and we’re going to pick up and try to run with [them] as soon as we can,” Warren said.