Our parks are a source of pride, and necessary

On Nov. 3, Kyle voted yes on a $10 million parks bond that is not only going to provide must needed maintenance and upkeep of already existing park space, but it will also allow for work to begin on a massive regional sportsplex and festival grounds located in the Plum Creek area uptown near the border with Buda. Additionally, Hays County passed its own parks bond, allocating $75 million for area parks and recreation. So what does this mean for the neighbors of Kyle? Well that depends on who you ask.

If you’re like me and you love being outside, this is a great thing. Trails will be more accessible and better maintained, many connecting to other area trail systems thus creating the ability for longer and more enjoyable runs, hikes and rides.The goal is to eventually have a connecting system of trails extending from North Austin all the way to San Marcos. Kyle youth (and some adults) will have a new skate park located at Gregg-Clark park to ride in.

Ash pavilion is also going to be receiving some updates. Time to get some new skates. The regional sportsplex will bolster an already robust recreational athletics system, while also drawing in teams and tournaments from around the area. This will cut down on the cost of travel that many youth sports teams face, while also affording our teams that “home field advantage” by having home games that parents and families can now attend. The festival grounds will become a premier event space that will draw in a much needed array of entertainment avenues for everyone to enjoy. Who could complain?

Well, if none of that is your cup of tea, I’m sure it frustrates you. The homebodies that don’t really enjoy the outside world probably aren’t enthusiastic about the million of tax dollars spent on these projects that they most likely won’t partake in. I’m sure there’s a good portion of neighbors worried about the noise, congestion and other issues the festival grounds may bring. The idea of a large group of teenagers congregating in the skate park may put some at unease. All of these concerns are, for the most part, valid.

At the end of the day, the benefit all boils down to one thing: what is actually utilized. The potential of the sportsplex and festival grounds to bring visitors, volunteer opportunities, potential jobs and revenue to the town is great, but like the other parks and amenities it relies heavily on participation. Having unused parks, new or old, are not worth much investment in them if we don’t use them. Parks are an excellent facilitator of community building. The little moments in parks matter: the conversation you have about how beautiful the weather is when you sit down for a picnic next to a stranger, the friends you make by joining a recreation sports team, or when your children meet and befriend one another on the playground, or that nod of encouragement you give as you pass someone on the trails when you’re out on your run.

Our parks are a source of pride, and as we rebuild our community post COVID-19, they are going to be necessary to bring us back together. So, as our parks are built, reimagined or refurbished, I encourage everyone to turn off the TV, close the laptop, turn off the iPhone … and get outside and explore Kyle again.
Full disclosure, I voted against both bonds; but I’m sure glad so many others didn’t.

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