The Tomball City Council confirmed the donation of 14 acres of land to be used for a city park at its July 7 meeting and has instructed city staff to move forward with legal processes to accept the donation.
Bruce Broussard, CEO of Humana Inc., proposed the donation of 14 of his 16 acres at 1414 Hufsmith to Tomball for the purposes of constructing a park in the northeast part of the city, City Manager George Shackelford said. The city is scheduled to incorporate the donated land by the end of September after it has completed the legal steps needed to accept the donation. The additional 2 acres will be used for future commercial development, Shackelford said.
Broussard has also agreed to underwrite the submission of an application on behalf of the city to the KaBOOM! Community Partner and Construction Grants Program for the purposes of constructing a 2,500-square-foot playground at the new park, Shackelford said. Council also approved that city staff move forward and submit an application to the KaBOOM! grant program.
KaBOOM! is a nonprofit organization that builds playgrounds through what it calls a community-build model where residents, local businesses and other community members plan, fundraise for, design and build a playground.
Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan and other city officials recently traveled to San Antonio to witness a KaBOOM! community build, Shackelford said. Once plans for the playground are finalized, construction will take one day to complete. Shackelford said the playground construction could take place as early as November.
"Once everything gets finalized and the city officially adds the new park land, we will launch a campaign to get the community involved and get their input for the construction of the playground," Shackelford said.
In addition, Council also authorized city staff to proceed with submitting a grant application to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Recreation Grant Program for $400,000 to build out the rest of the donated park land with soccer fields, trails, parkways and other amenities. Texas Parks and Wildlife requires the city to match the grant total to be eligible but the city can use the value of the donated park land as its match, Shackelford said.
With such a short time frame to get the Texas Parks and Wildlife grant application ready by the Aug. 31 deadline, Shackelford said he is unsure whether the city will be approved for a grant this time around. However, in the event the city does not receive the grant, it plans to apply again during Texas Parks and Wildlife's next grant cycle.
Fagan said the city will work with Harris County Precinct 4 to connect the parkways and trails at its new park to those at the county's Matthews Park, which lies next to the donated park land. She said the city will also work with the county on possible roadway improvements in the future to provide better access to the new park.