MLK Park rendering

This image provided by consulting firm Halff Associates shows a potential design for Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

During the development of the Parks & Recreation master plan, the City of Victoria and consulting firm Halff Associates used public surveys and open house meetings to ask residents: What do you want from your parks?

Their responses, along with potential solutions to help meet their needs, are contained in the Parks & Recreation Master Plan that was adopted by the City Council on Nov. 16.

Walking trails

Community input confirmed that Victoria’s walking trails are overwhelmingly popular with residents. According to the master plan, trails were identified among the most important and frequently used recreational facilities in Victoria.

Victoria has 6.6 miles of multiuse trails. The plan recommends creating an expanded trail network and bringing more residential areas within walking distance of a trail.

Maintenance and upgrades

In addition to potential expansion of facilities, the plan includes recommendations for improving existing parks. As an example, the plan suggests improvements to Parks & Recreation’s maintenance program, noting that a more formalized maintenance schedule would help to improve the department’s upkeep of landscaping, restrooms and more.

Security was another concern noted by residents. The plan suggests working with the Victoria Police Department to identify locations that would benefit from upgraded lighting. Changes in park access policies and staff resources could also help residents to feel safer.

Dog parks were also a popular request. The plan recommends building one or more dog parks either on new land or within an existing park. Riverside Park and the Lone Tree Creek Park were both identified as potential candidates.

“A space for all of us”

The theme of the master plan is “A space for all of us,” and it includes steps to make sure all residents can enjoy Parks & Recreations’ facilities. As Parks & Recreation seeks ways to improve its playgrounds, the department will consider how to make parks accessible to children of all abilities. The plan’s short-term goals include recommendations for accessible playground equipment, ramps and other features.

Another obstacle identified in the plan is that many Victoria residents are not within walking distance of any park. As the city develops new parks, they will look for locations that could improve access for residents in the park service gaps.

How is it funded?

The plan identifies grant sources that could help to fund the implementation of the plan. The city’s budgets for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 include funding for a splash pad in Riverside Park and a dog park, and the city has also received a $300,000 grant from the Marsha Shanklin Foundation toward the creation of the splash pad.

To learn more about the city’s master plans, visit victoriatx.gov/masterplans.

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LEONARD SADDLER

Great plan. Should be complete in time to go under water.

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