Master plan of Goliad's Branch River Park unveiled

Sept. 9, 2010 at 4:09 a.m.

Layout of plan for Goliad's Branch River Park

Layout of plan for Goliad's Branch River Park

GOLIAD - There's a little something for everyone in the new plan drawn up for the Branch River Park in downtown Goliad.

A nine-hole disc golf course, amphitheater, rental cabins and a wildlife viewing area make up just some of the amenities the people of Goliad could enjoy within the next three to five years.

The landscape architecture firm Land Design Partners presented the master visual plan of the park to about 30 community members at a public meeting Thursday night.

The plan was created after two previous meetings in Goliad, during which citizens were invited to give their input on the park's set-up and amenities.

"I'm really encouraged by the community participation and vision," Elizabeth Branch said.

Branch donated the 4.2-acre land to the San Antonio River Authority, which has been working on developing the park since late last year.

Branch said she thought the master plan fulfilled her vision for the property.

"The point was to see the community partner with the River Authority to create a connection from the town to the river," she said.

The park's property lies a little more than 100 yards from a public access point to the river on South Commercial Street and connects to East Fannin Street, just south of the courthouse.

Designers had to compromise on a few amenities some members of the community wanted to see in the park, such as a a demonstration garden and rinse station for canoeists.

"Not everything could be placed on the property that was proposed," said David Beyer, who presented the plan. "The southern half of the property is in the 100-year flood plain, so there were limitations with what could happen down there."

Beyer said the park was designed to allow the southern half of the property to remain a mostly natural habitat.

"I think it's a good balance," said Terry Biamonte, who represents Goliad on the SARA board. "It has a wide offering to the public."

Dale Bransford, manager of the SARA Park Services Department, said the river authority does not have funding to allocate toward "significant capital improvements," but that he hopes to begin working on smaller projects in the park.

"We want to build public support and public momentum to help with funding considerations," he told the room. "We also want to build a sense of community and civic pride so folks take care of it and use it."

Bransford estimated the park as planned would cost $645,000, which could be covered by grants, community building projects and collaborations with other groups. Money for routine maintenance of the park's facilities would also have to be considered, he said.

In the meantime, some citizens said they wanted the 1/8-mile trail and picnic tables to be SARA's first focus.

Others thought the disc golf course, which will cost between $12,000 and $15,000, should be a priority.

"It's so exciting," Biamonte said. "You just want to do it all."



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