PHOTO #1: This image provided by consulting firm Halff Associates shows a potential design for Ethel Lee Tracy 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. The full plan is available for viewing at www.victoriatx.gov/parks-master-plan.
PHOTO #2: This map from the Parks & Recreation master plan shows Victoria’s multiuse trails, the trail extensions that were proposed in the earlier Paseo de Victoria pedestrian and bicycle master plan and the residential areas that are within ¼ mile or ½ mile of a trail.
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 comprising the Lone Tree Creek Hike and Bike Trail and the Riverside Park trails, including the Athey Nature Trail. 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 primary 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”
PHOTO #3: A map shows residential areas in Victoria that are within ¼ mile or ½ mile of a park.
PHOTO #4: This image provided by consulting firm Halff Associates shows a potential design for Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
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.
One of the parks to get a full conceptual rendering was the southside’s Martin Luther King Jr. Park, which could get an expanded playground area, a walking trail and other improvements. Other parks that received conceptual renderings were Riverside Park and Ethel Lee Tracy Park.
How is it funded?
PHOTO #5: The Riverside Park duck pond is seen in this 2014 file photo. The reconstruction of the duck pond, which is expected to begin in early 2022, will be funded in part by a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department grant.
The plan identifies grant sources that could help to fund the implementation of the plan, such as the Community Development Block Grant program; the National Park Service; and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, which has already provided a $621,509 grant toward the duck pond reconstruction project that is scheduled to begin early next year.
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. More information will be provided as the City continues to move forward with these and other projects included in the master plan.
To learn more about the City’s master plans, visit www.victoriatx.gov/masterplans. For more information about Parks & Recreation, call 361-485-3200 or follow Victoria Parks and Recreation on Facebook.