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Community members provide feedback on proposed Goliad park designs

June 21, 2010 at 1:21 a.m.

Residents discuss one of the five design proposals for a new downtown park in Goliad. The park property was donated to the San Antonio River Authority by Elizabeth Branch.

Residents discuss one of the five design proposals for a new downtown park in Goliad. The park property was donated to the San Antonio River Authority by Elizabeth Branch.

GOLIAD - Members of the community gathered at Immaculate Conception Church Monday evening to provide feedback on design plans for a new downtown park.

About 30 people, including contractors and San Antonio River Authority members, showed up to cast their informal votes on which of the five design plans they liked best. The plans were created by Land Design Partners, which is based in San Antonio.

This is the second of three meetings the river authority has hosted giving the people of Goliad the opportunity to provide input on the development of a 4.2-acre piece of land donated by Elizabeth Branch. At the first meeting, citizens were invited to suggest the amenities they wanted to see in the park, which included an amphitheater, a rinse station for canoeists, a disc golf course and a demonstration garden, among other things.

"Our objective is to combine what's good for the property, good for the greater Goliad community and in line with the San Antonio River Authority," Dale Bransford, Manager of the SARA Park Services Department said.

The consensus among most residents in attendance was that the new park be used as a gateway for canoeists on the river to venture into Goliad's downtown area. The park property lies just south of Goliad's courthouse.

"The point is to bring the river to town. The river's always been forgotten in Goliad," Adair Sutherland, who's one of Goliad's representatives at SARA, said.

Goliad's mayor, Jay Harvey, sees the economic opportunities the new park promises. He is advocating for the construction of rental cabins on the property.

"We need more places for folks to stay. And since this is close to downtown, it will entice folks who don't want to sleep in a tent or don't have an RV to stay here," Harvey said.

Harvey added the proposed cabins could also act as a source of income to help maintain the park.

The river authority will be responsible for funding both the construction and maintenance of the park.

So far, SARA has spent about $20,000 on the design consultants and the property's upkeep, according to Bransford.

The river authority will need to gather funds both internally and from state and federal grants when it comes time to construct the park. Bransford expects the project to cost in the "few hundreds of thousands" of dollars.

The next step is for SARA and the landscape architects to gather the votes cast by community members and come up with a consensus draft of the park's layout.

They hope to have that final plan by the end of the summer, said Laura Waldrum, SARA community relations coordinator.

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