MAYPEARL — A vision of what a downtown park could provide residents was presented to the Maypearl City Council at a specially called meeting on Aug. 31.
Matt Young, who is a member of the community group "Friends of Maypearl," presented the concept plan to the council.
The two-acre site for the park is located across from Maypearl City Halll in the 100 block of E. Second St. Some of the amenities the park could feature include a walking trail, playground, picnic areas, fitness areas and a half-court basketball court.
Young, who is the director of parks and recreation for the City of Mansfield, is lending his expertise to the project because he wants to the see the city grow.
“My wife and I moved to Maypearl about six years ago. I have been in the parks and recreation industry for about 25 years. I wanted to be involved with this because I wanted to help improve the quality of life in my own town but I also have pretty extensive experience in park development and grant writing,” Young said. “The Friends of Maypearl did a survey a couple of years ago, which asked what type of amenities that the community wanted. The number one thing the people were asking for at the time was a walking trail followed by some exercise and workout areas, a playground, gazebo and a pavilion. A splash pad was on that list as well as a basketball court.”
Young said the Friends of Maypearl, through the city, will be applying for a small community grant with Texas Parks and Wildlife. The deadline for the grant is Oct. 1. The Friends of Maypearl has already raised more than $83,000 for the park project.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, the local park grant program provides a 50 percent match on a reimbursement basis to eligible applicants. All grant-assisted sites must be dedicated as parkland in perpetuity, properly maintained and open to the public. The maximum amount awarded is $75,000.
“The last few years it has been awarded to 15 – 25 agencies. After March or April is when the parks and wildlife awards that. Then it is about a three-month period that the agencies will work with parks and wildlife to execute all of the agreements,” Young explained. “Once that is done then we can start the design process for phase one improvements. That is about a four or five-month process.”
Young stated that Texas Parks and Wildlife rates each grant applicant on a sliding point scale based on the amenities listed in the proposal. He added that amenities such as restrooms or parking, while needed, do not give points to the project.
Young noted that those items are planned for the park in the future, which would be built in phases. He estimates that the spring of 2019 is when construction could be underway.
Following the presentation, Maypearl Mayor Kelly Jacobson shared some concerns about the project. Jacobson's first concern was about flooding, which water currently drains onto that piece of property. He suggested that an engineering study would be needed to address drainage.
Jacobson also stated that an environmental impact assessment might need to be completed, as well, because there was a gas spill that happened in the 1970s or 1980s near where the playground would be located. His final concern was about the financing of the park, noting that the city has a very tight budget.
Young stated that more than likely the funds raised by the Friends of Maypearl would be donated to the city. The applicant for the grant has to be the City of Maypearl. He added that, if the grant is awarded, the city has three years to act on it and extensions can also be applied for as well. Fundraising can also continue.
Young told the council, in order to meet the Oct. 1 grant deadline, the city needs to schedule a public hearing and have a resolution placed on the Sept. 11 agenda. The resolution would state the city is eligible to receive grant funding.
In other business the council,
• Approved an ordinance to extend the city's extra-territorial jurisdiction.
• Approved the amended deed of lots 11-20 in Block 17 and all of Block 18 of tracks known as the ballpark.