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Design improvements coming to Mary Kyle Hartson Park

By Megan Wehring

KYLE — Downtown Kyle is expecting a facelift in the near future. The Kyle City Council was presented with a preliminary landscape design plan for Mary Kyle Hartson City Square Park during its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1. 

The $93,700 design contract with Coleman & Associates was approved by the Kyle City Council on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The improvements will be funded by the 2019 settlement agreement between the city of Kyle and the Permian Highway Pipeline, LLC, and Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, LLC.

The design plan was presented by Aan Coleman, founder of Coleman & Associates. Proposed amenities include improved American Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, 20-foot-wide promenade, additional seating areas, picnic tables, low-profile playscape, educational rain garden and botanical garden. The senior activity center, gazebo, fountain and historical benches/picnic tables will remain on site; these features will be improved per the Texas Historical Commission’s approval. 

“I like the idea of the long space in the southeast quadrant next to the gazebo,” Council member Dex Ellison said. “It’s really unique. One of the examples you gave showed the gazebo and seating outside. We had a proposal in that square last year during the holiday season, so maybe we’ll get a wedding in there.”

Council member Robert Rizo said he is in favor of the proposed landscaping around the fountain. 

“It was just too big of a focal centerpiece there,” Rizo said. “Adding the landscape around it is going to make it very beautiful. I think it’s going to make it a lot better.”

While the square park does not offer any play-specific areas for children, Mayor Travis Mitchell said he hopes the proposed playscape will bring a more family-friendly environment. 

“That’s a nice little low-profile way to have kids be doing something while mom and dad are walking around or having a meeting with friends,” Mitchell said. “It keeps them engaged and helps them stay there longer, which invites families to come and stay longer.”

Mitchell also said he wants the public to be informed and involved in the process of these development projects, even if there may be disagreement at times.

“It’s a delicate path,” Mitchell said. “This council has tried to be proactive, understanding that moving the city forward and revitalizing downtown is something that many of us hold near and dear. But at the same time, we want to engage the city and make sure the city gets the opportunity to look at these projects firsthand.”

Kyle City Council and Coleman & Associates will work on ways to engage the public with the design proposal, allowing for community feedback. Council member Yvonne Flores-Cale said they would need to provide a virtual option to give every resident an opportunity to listen.

“I think it’s just going to be really hard to get residents involved all at one time,” Flores-Cale said. “If we truly value their feedback, giving them the ability to watch the video on their own time and reading their comments might be a little more helpful in developing this part of the city.”

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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