Purchasing new property for parks and enhancing the city’s existing parks are among the recommendations listed in Tomball’s parks, recreation and trails master plan, which outlines $108 million in projects.

The plan was approved by Tomball City Council at its March 4 meeting. According to a survey conducted for the master plan that garnered 472 responses, 99% of respondents said they supported the idea of enhancing Tomball parks, and 93% said they feel a need for additional park amenities.

Tom Weatherford, who plays pickleball regularly at Juergens Park, served on the focus group for the master plan and said he would like to see more pickleball courts built, calling the four new courts underway “already sold-out.”

“The sense of community, it’s almost indescribable,” Weatherford said. “I have the biggest friend group I’ve ever had in my entire life from meeting the people out there at those ... pickleball courts.”

Diving in deeper

City Manager David Esquivel said there were not many surprises in the master plan, which he believes included a lot of “exciting concepts.”

“It’s really looking forward to the strategic planning with the council to see how we’re going to start implementing this plan,” Esquivel said.

In the plan, the recommended projects are broken down into $63.95 million of new projects, $41.7 million of revitalization projects and $2.5 million of enhancement projects. The recommendations include purchasing a property on the west side of Tomball, revitalizing the Depot Plaza and enhancing the Theis Attaway Nature Center. Specific recommendations are also laid out for each of Tomball’s seven parks, which include:

  • Expanding the walking trail at Broussard Park
  • Reorganizing the field layout and upgrading signage and scoreboards at Wayne Stovall Sports Complex
  • Creating individual master plans for Wayne Stovall Sports Complex, Broussard Park and Juergens Park

“It’s no different than any other master plan that we have,” Esquivel said. “We’re going to approach it the same way, and so once we have a good refined number and list of projects, then we can identify all the funding sources.”

Tomball Little League President Jeanne Foster said she would like to see the Wayne Stovall Sports Complex, where the league plays, revamped and enlarged to provide more fields and amenities for players and their families.

“Over the last four years, Tomball Little League’s enrollment has grown significantly,” Foster said in an email. “We have averaged 1,000 players the last couple of seasons, and we anticipate our enrollment to continue to grow.”

What they’re saying
  • "The uphill battle is going to be the budget. I’m all for this [plan]. I think it will be great for our community." —Mark Stoll, Tomball City Council member
  • "We have people from 8 to 80 playing [pickleball] out there. When you have kids out there in an environment like that, the benefits to the community and society in general are immeasurable."—Tom Weatherford, Magnolia resident and Tomball pickleball player
  • "Parks are an integral part of community life in Tomball. It provides areas for exercise, recreation and building a sense of community." —Jeanne Foster, Tomball Little League president

Also of note

The city of Magnolia is also working on a parks and recreation master plan, hosting a workshop Feb. 22 where residents could provide feedback. Paul Howard, a project manager with Burditt Consultants who is developing the master plan, said the draft is anticipated to be presented to Magnolia City Council in late April or early May.

Additionally, last August, Harris County Precinct 3 released its own parks and trails master plan, which recommended more than $758 million in parks and trails investments that include projects such as adding or replacing playgrounds; creating tennis and pickleball courts; and building a community center at Burroughs and Matthews parks.

Esquivel said Precinct 3 was included in the development of the city’s parks master plan.

“It is a goal to integrate their efforts with ours so that way they [line] up,” Esquivel said, noting the city has met with Commissioner Tom Ramsey about connecting Matthews and Broussard parks to make them look more like one park instead of two parks.

Stay tuned

At Matheson Park, $2.37 million in improvements are underway on pickleball courts, a splash pad and pool renovations. Assistant City Manager Jessica Rogers said the majority of construction should be completed by May or June.

At Juergens Park, construction on Louie’s Together Playground, an inclusive playground, is planned to begin around August.

“Our hope is that we’ll get everything wrapped up at Matheson before we move over to Juergens so we’re not doubly disrupting the park area,” Rogers said.

Esquivel also said several new projects for the Depot Plaza, near which the city owns an undeveloped tract of land, may be included in the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, for which planning will begin this summer.

“There’s really a huge need, especially with our festivals growing,” Esquivel said. “I think that is going to be a focus of ours for this upcoming budget.”