Bond park projects being reviewed

By Brittany Anderson
More parks and recreation opportunities are coming to fruition across Hays County, thanks to a special commission and voter-approved bond.
The Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Commission (POSAC) presented information regarding its plan for parks, open spaces and connectivity during the commissioners court meeting on Nov. 23.
POSAC was established in February 2020 by the commissioners court to study the viability and community interest in pursuing a potential park, open space and conservation bond program, and to then solicit their recommendations to the court.
POSAC’s efforts culminated as Proposition A, commonly referred to as the Hays County 2020 Parks and Open Space Bond, which was approved by voters on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot. The bond called for the issuance of $75 million in general bonds to fund parks, open spaces, conservation lands and other recreational opportunities over the next several years.
In April 2021, POSAC amended its bylaws with slightly different roles and responsibilities, which was attributed to the commissioners intent on performing a second call for projects (‘2.0’) where revisions were made.
The projects proposed by POSAC include urban parks, open space/natural areas and ‘connectivity,’ which includes trailheads and trail-to-park connectivity, educational kiosks and enhancing equity and access under ADA compliance.

Photo via Hays County Parks Bond.

A large portion of the projects submitted — 23 of the 25 projects — in 2.0 are being recommended for funding through the $75 million bond monies. The total request for all 25 projects is approximately $88 million, which is slightly $12 million over the bond package.
Following Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe’s question about potential funding through grants, Hays County Natural Resources Coordinator Alexandra Thompson said they are still seeking out grant opportunities. Thompson said that while they were not chosen for one grant they applied for, they were encouraged to apply for it again in 2022.
While there is still work to be done, the more than one thousand hours of work put in by POSAC members and the support from the community has not gone unnoticed in helping achieve the goal of having Hays County be the ‘Central Park’ of Central Texas.
“What we’re doing is enabling more people to get out and enjoy this beautiful land that we all know as home,” POSAC chair Scott Way said. “And, to have access to these wonderful places that so many of us love about Hays County.”
Commissioners will next review the list of recommendations before taking action to approve the projects at a future meeting. The list of projects, bond updates and other information can be found on the POSAC website at www.haysparksbond.com.

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About Author

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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