Kyle moves forward with outdoor recreation projects

Kyle residents can soon look forward to enjoying more outdoor recreation.
During its July 20 meeting, Kyle City Council members discussed several upcoming projects that would expand the city’s parks and trails.
Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Koch, alongside council members Dex Ellison and Michael Tobias, are part of a task force that will seek to incorporate bond-related capital for the citywide trail system.
Kyle is working with the Great Springs Project and other partners along the IH-35 corridor to create a spring-to-spring network of trails from San Antonio to Austin.
City manager Scott Sellers told council that in light of the $10 million Proposition B approved by voters in November 2020, which included a trail dedication, the task force hopes to leverage those funds and receive additional sources of outside funding.
Sellers also said that the task force is now at the point of utilizing some of those dollars towards various logistics of the trail, including its width, design and amenities like benches, dog waste stations and parking areas.
Ellison has been a key player in the addition of a skate park to Gregg-Clarke Park, which was allocated $1 million for improvements in Proposition B.
Ellison said that he is ready to get started on the project and believes they can do a great job with the allocation of the bond funds for this park, and that they shouldn’t be on the fence with the county about matching dollars.
Council member Robert Rizo voiced his support, saying he is excited at the prospect of young people in Kyle having a space to get outdoors and skate. Koch also added that he is interested in seeing what kind of amenities can be added to the park that would make it unique to others in the area.
In a motion approved 7-0, Ellison, along with Rizo and council member Yvonne Flores-Cale, were appointed as members of a task force that will start design plans and incorporate community feedback on the park improvements.
Also on the agenda was a resolution for the city to adopt and allocate funds for an outdoor fitness court, brought forward by Mariana Espinoza, director of Parks and Recreation, and Aimee Garcia, recreation programmer.
Espinoza told council that the parks and recreation department has been trying to secure additional funding from outside sources through sponsorships, partnerships and grants, so they can offer more innovative outdoor programming.
Garcia received a $25,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign, which would be used to install an outdoor fitness court consisting of self-guided and ambassador-led circuit workouts.
The grant brought the total cost of the court down to $105,000; the project includes a mobile app to find seasonal fitness events on the court and staff training for ambassador-led workouts. Garcia said this cost is proposed to come out of the park development fund and they are also working with local sponsors. Additionally, she and Espinoza have discussed choosing a court design package that would allow local artists to design the court.
Garcia said they considered both Gregg-Clarke Park and Steeplechase Park as a location for the court, but ultimately decided within the 13.5 acres of dedicated parkland between Marketplace Avenue and Burleson Street for its parking space and the fact that there are no amenities there now. The court would also ideally coincide with the city’s trail system in the area.
While Flores-Cale, Koch and council member Ashlee Bradshaw were in favor of the proposed location, Rizo and Mayor Travis Mitchell preferred Steeplechase. Mitchell said that if the court ends up being at the initial proposed location, they should have the developers pay the $105,000 through PID reimbursements.
Council members praised Garcia’s success in securing a grant but agreed that there are still questions regarding the exact location, securing sponsorships and adding costly but necessary amenities like outdoor lighting. The item was still approved 7-0. Garcia said that if they stick to the timeline, the court could be launched by the end of this year.
“Keep bringing stuff like that with grants attached,” Koch said. “It gets us excited, especially when it has to do with parks. Clearly, this council really loves parks.”

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Brittany Anderson graduated from Texas State University in August 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously worked at KTSW 89.9, Texas State University's radio station, for nearly two years in the web content department as a writer and assistant manager. She has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch since July 2021.

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