FERRIS – Ferris City Council members chose to adopt the Park Master Plan at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Before voting to adopt the plan council members held a public hearing to accept comments concerning the master plan.

GrantWorks representative Martha Drake made a presentation to the council.

“The primary reason cities undertake a master plan is to pave the way for receiving grant money for necessary improvements from Texas Parks and Wildlife,” Drake said, noting that Texas Parks and Wildlife will be offering its next set of grants in 2014. “With this plan in place, you'll be sitting pretty when they reconvene.”

City Manager Dennis Burn said the Park Master Plan provides a foundation for future park and recreation facilities development.

“To realize this vision for the future, actions suggested in this plan relate to specific goals that the citizens of Ferris hope to accomplish,” Burn said.

He added that the goals and objectives that lead to goal implementation were determined through informal surveys of local residents, public hearings related to community development projects and public meetings held specifically to address parks, recreation and open green space issues.

“Many of the master plan priorities include Mutz Park as a potential site,” he said. “This plan does not make recommendations for competing priorities. Rather, the plan is intended as a tool for future decisions.”

Mayor Bill Pardue thanked Drake, Economic Development and Main Street Director Chuck Dart and all the members of the Parks Board for their hard work in helping establish the master plan.

In other action, the city council welcomed Jason Birdwell as the interim fire chief at Monday's meeting. Birdwell was offered the position after Scott Mitchell's resignation.

Burn said of Birdwell, “Jason has been with the city since February 2011 and has solid firefighting experience, training and certifications to his credit.”

Birdwell thanked city council members for the appointment and support.

“I appreciate what Scott (Mitchell) started here,” he said. “My goal is to build on that.”

The council also approved Burn to continue the standing agreement with TML Administrative Agreement. Burn said annually the city signs an agreement with TML for continuation of coverage for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). He said COBRA is a continuation of their group health plan for employees that lose coverage.

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