Parks and recreation plan showing promise

The much needed and long-awaited process of improving the overall look and quality of parks and recreation facilities in Brady began Wednesday as the City Council discussed and prioritized a preliminary project list and five year plan to be implemented as soon as possible. Utilizing the resources of their official grant writer Kim Lenoir, the Council heard the results of a survey presented to the citizens over the past month. The survey is the first step in developing a master plan that will be submitted to Texas Parks and Wildlife in an attempt to receive grants to fund the projects. The survey created by Lenoir, asked citizens to prioritize and rank in order of importance recreational facilities they currently used and felt were of major concern in the future. A total of 149 surveys were submitted, the majority of which came from individuals ages 60 and over. “There was a definite lack of participation by members of the community in their 20s and 30s,” stated Lenoir. “What the surveys did tell us were what things people feel strongly about.” In the section of the survey about what type of park and recreation activities families participate in, the results showed for adults, the most important items in order of importance were walking/jogging/cycling, fishing and boating, playground and picnicking, gardening, swimming and golf. Among children, the top categories were swimming, walking/jogging/cycling, fishing and boating, playground and picnicking and baseball and softball. In ranking what projects should be a priority in upcoming years, the survey revealed a public opinion strongly in favor of renovating a town square movie theater. “This surprised me in its level of support,” stated Lenoir “but it was the clear leader by several points. Developing Brady Creek through town was second while updating Brady Lake was tied with renovating Richards Park at third.” Developing the master plan for the parks and recreation facilities located in and around Brady will assist TPW in evaluating grant requests submitted throughout upcoming years. Lenoir is working to develop a plan that will map out details of projects in order of importance for at least the next five years. During the meeting, Lenoir asked the Council to provide their opinions of the projects and their priority. After much discussion, it was determined that the first project the City would pursue is the development of Brady Creek in conjunction with the golf course and Richards Park all as one project. “The golf course renovations are being privately funded by the golf association and if we can get a TPW grant, it’s possible to do the entire project at no cost to the City,” said Councilman Billy Patterson. The council expressed their opinion that the entire project of not just the golf course, but Richards Park and improving the Brady Creek area needed to be one project and that it should be first on the priority list. In attempting to compile a list that would provide at least a five year plan, the other projects in order of priority were public pool, Brady Lake facilities, general beautification and landscaping of the city. “Those items right there are more than enough to last five years,” stated Councilman Donald Barley. Lenoir thanked the Council and citizens for their comments and informed them that she would be developing the first draft of the master plan to be presented to the council and for public review and comment. Once that draft is modified and approved, the plan will be presented to TPW by November. In the short business section of the council meeting, an ordinance approving building and numerous other codes for the City was approved on its second reading. The wording of the ordinance was changed to include “as revised” in order to allow for subsequent changes submitted by the state. A rezoning request to change the blocks that currently house the old South Ward campus to a commercial district was denied. The request by Mike Martin was also denied by the planning and zoning commission earlier this week due to a concern expressed by 22 of 32 residents contacted in the immediate area that would be affected by the zoning change. Rick Melcer, a resident near the area in question, addressed the council with his concerns for future ramifications if the area was zoned commercial. “Our major concern is what could happen to the area 10 to 15 years from now,” said Melcer. “Once it is zoned commercial, there is nothing to prevent a number of different things from happening to the property.” A brief city manager’s report and finance report concluded the business portion of the meeting.

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