Roving Reporter | "Parks Making Progress" by Jeanette Larson

Troop 365 volunteers at the Aquatic Center
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The Rockport Parks Board met on October 23, 2017. The main items of business were a report on the clean-up and repair efforts for the city parks and presentation of an initial planning report for the proposed Sports Complex.

Fixing the gazebo at the Aquatic Center
Parks Director, Rick Martinez reported on the work done at Memorial Park and the other city parks. Much of the debris has been cleaned up and that allowed staff to finally mow the ball fields.
Martinez noted that one of the things they found in the fields was a sign from Rositas Taqueria and Cafe that had blown in from Market Street! Top soil is being brought in to fill holes left when trees were ripped out by the storm. Fields will also be reseeded. Memorial Park is still closed for safety reasons but crews are working as quickly as possible and hope work will be finished by the end of February in time for Little League season. Martinez recently met with representatives of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation. They are interested in helping to replace Little League facilities that were damaged or destroyed. The Sid W. Richardson Foundation is based in Ft. Worth and provides major grants to support non-profits that serve Texans.

Neighborhood parks, including Mathis, Spencer, Compass Rose, and Tule are being cleaned and debris is removed daily. Only Zachary Taylor Park has not been touched, due to the excessive amount of debris that must be removed before crews can even enter the area to clean up the park. The Tule Creek Hike and Bike trail is now open although there are still large trees to be trimmed and debris needs to be cleaned from the creek. A group of Boy Scouts from Troop 365 in Round Rock recently came to help clear the nature trail at the Aquatic Center, repair and re-roof the gazebo there, and clean up Magnolia Park. It is expected that they will return for the Haunted Hay Ride and to do more work. The Bent Oaks Park and rookery has had some work done but the Parks staff is working with the debris removal company to ensure that the debris piles don't cause further damage to the sensitive area.

The pool is doing well and is expected to re-open November 1, although there will be the Doggie Dunk (dogs only in the water), the Haunted Hay Ride, and Trunk or Treat at the pool later this month. Martinez noted that most of the Parks staff are voluntarily working overtime to clean up seven days a week and that all positions are now filled.

The Board was shown a very preliminary plan for the proposed Sports Complex and reviewed a planning report. The City purchased approximately 41 acres along Highway 35 at Corpus Christi Street in January 2015 for $1.5 million. About 32 acres will eventually be developed for the sports complex. Because of Hurricane Harvey and the required cleanup and repairs needed elsewhere in the city, there is no timeline for this project.  It is anticipated that most of the $5.1 million funding for the sports complex will come from grants that may require city matching funds. The Sid W. Richardson Foundation may also be interested in helping to fund this project. The report calls for the project to be built in three phases and the site will include five adult softball fields for practice and tournaments. Four fields are staged together with an extra field that can be used to allow fields to rest from extensive use. Space is also available for an open field that could be used for soccer, touch football, and other activities. Additional amenities would include playgrounds, picnic tables, walking and nature trails, and restrooms.



The board also heard preliminary plans and ideas for the 2017 Tropical Christmas to be held on December 2. Santa will be making an appearance and Kids to Kids Outreach of Mission Hope will have gifts for children. Families who lost their homes are encouraged to contact Jackie Hattenbach at 361-463-9426. A pirate costume parade for kids is also on the schedule. Anyone interested in participating in the various parades, being a vendor, or volunteering should also contact Jackie.

Jackie Hattenbach, Administrative and Special Events Assistant  is retiring effective December 22, 2017. Her replacement, Brittany Elkins, was introduced. Brittany formerly worked for the City of Ingleside and has extensive experience with event planning, including Movies in the Park, Zombie Walk, and various Christmas and holiday activities in Ingleside. Both will be working on the Tropical Christmas events. Because of the holidays, there will be no meeting in November or December.

Brittany Elkins (left) and Jackie Hattenbach (right)

Parks Board members

Citizens in attendance

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