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Parks & Rec facilities in need of repair, replacement

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By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

During last week’s meeting of the Lockhart City Council, Travis Hughes, the Director of Parks and Recreation, gave his assessment of park facilities and priorities of his department moving forward.

There was a 2018 master plan before Hughes arrived and he revisited those outlines.

“Our park facilities are aging amenities,” Hughes noted, also mentioning out-of-date lighting and overall security.

With the City growing, Hughes said the Parks and Recreation facilities will need to keep pace.

“There are currently 115 acres, and by 2027 we will need 165 acres,” Hughes said.

Hughes said existing parks needed to be within a 15-minute walk from the four quadrants of the city, and that the trails needed to be connected.

Hughes said the city’s swimming pool, soccer complex, and Little League complex all needed “a lot of attention.”

Hughes also said an indoor recreation facility was needed, as well as adult sports/activities.

“I would like to have more opportunities for youth,” said Hughes, who noted the pool at Lockhart City Park was in dire need of being replaced, preferably elsewhere. “Drowning is the number one cause of death of children under the age of four other than childhood diseases, and it’s the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14. Learning how to swim, I think, is a critical thing.

“The facilities are generally old and outdated. The bathrooms, play structures, lighting; we need to improve the safety and security. We need to increase shade and seating. We need to renovate park facilities. We need an aquatic facility to replace the existing facility. We need city park upgrades to event spaces, and an amphitheater. We need an indoor recreation facility. It makes sense having a new aquatic facility next to an indoor recreation facility.”

As for funding the needs of the Parks and Recreation Department, Hughes said there would need to be a bond election at some point, but that grants and matching funds, as well as funds from donations, would help.

Mayor Lew White asked for Hughes to bring a plan of implementing changes before the council at a future meeting.

In other business:

There will be a public hearing for the city’s proposed tax rate on Sept. 6.

Salaries with the Caldwell County Appraiser’s District were discussed.

“The neighboring appraisal districts are paying quite a bit more, so we do need some salary adjustments,” White said. “The majority of raises over the last 10 years have been 2 ½ percent or lower. Like everybody else, they’re way behind the curve. There’s no denying salaries need to be increased.”

A Zoning Change was approved unanimously by the council for Lockhart Place Townhomes at 903 State Park Road, where 19.8 acres currently serving as corn fields will soon become a residential development.

There will be eight entrances to the development. There will be about 198 townhomes, mostly two-story units that will be about 1650 square feet. The units/houses will be separate lots for sale. There will be an incentive program with LISD for its employees.

Travis Krause, speaking on behalf of Patton 3 LLC, said the HOA would maintain all of the lawns and there would be a dog run and as many trees as possible within the development.

“It’s no secret that Lockhart is in need of housing in Lockhart is growing,” Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Angie Gonzales-Sanchez said. “I do know that sometimes growth is accepted and sometimes growth isn’t. I am in agreement that we do need housing, especially when it comes to our educators.”

Sean Charles was introduced as Lockhart‘s new EMS director. He has 26 years with the EMS.

“I’m looking forward to doing good things within the City of Lockhart,” said Charles, a who is also a pilot.

Lockhart Police Chief Ernest Padraza noted that his department would provide one additional school resource officer at the rank of sergeant, making three SROs at Lockhart ISD. There’s one with the high school, one with the junior high school, and one will who be a rover at the elementary schools.

City Manager Steve Lewis said a meeting with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission official regarding the Downtown Alcohol Regulations and Enforcement will be held Thursday, Aug. 25 at the city council chambers. It will be a work session and the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce, Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Lockhart Downtown Business Association are among the organizations that have been notified.

Public Works Director Sean Kelley said they were 28 miles of sidewalks within the city and that number will increase with the new subdivisions coming in. The city had identified 3,287 linear feet of sidewalks that were in need of rehabilitation.

“It will be a tough challenge to get all of this done for $350,000. The Sidewalk Rehabilitation and Replacement Projects passed unanimously.

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