BTX – The future development of Heritage Park, particularly related to the newest 84.25 acres purchased last year, was discussed at a combined meeting of the Belton City Council and Belton Parks Board on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
The meeting was an opportunity to consider priorities identified by community members and special interest groups, such as baseball and soccer leagues. In addition, The group also considered priorities identified in the Parks Master Plan and by the Parks Board.
While the bodies made no formal decisions, there was recognition of the need for additional parking space and restrooms.
Additional ball fields are more wants than needs at this time, Parks Board President Josh Pearson said.
Two overarching themes emerged from the meeting: the Leon River needs to be more accessible from the park and open space should be preserved and accentuated.
“I really like the openness,” Councilmember John R. Holmes Sr. said. “I think river access would be really, really neat, and used a lot.
Some other ideas under further consideration are an amphitheater, trails/sidewalks near the Leon River, and access areas for kayaks and tubes.
The re-establishment of multiple ponds on the property is also under consideration using water from the Leon River, as water rights came with the purchase of the land. The ponds would also serve as an irrigation source for the fields at Heritage Park.
“Not many parks have access to pump from the river,” Holmes said.
The temporary disc golf course is likely to stay, as it has become a popular destination. Councilmembers did say some of the baskets may need to be moved to different locations as other amenities are added, but those decisions will be made in the future.
The temporary dog park is also likely to become permanent, but not in the newest area of the park.
“The Pop-up Dog Park is in a good location,” Pearson said.
It is currently located in a shady part of Heritage Park between a parking lot and the river.
The next step in the planning for the park expansion is to create multiple illustrative renderings, Matt Bates, Director of Parks and Recreation said.
The City has hired Covey Landscape Architects ($28,200) to draft the renderings and develop cost estimates for each feature under consideration.
The renderings should be available for review by the City Council in November. Two public hearings are also planned, Bates said.
Once all of these steps are completed, the City plans to apply for a $750,000 matching grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife, which would help fund the development of the park. Texas Parks and Wildlife has granted the City a waiver of retroactivity, which would allow the City’s $750,000 match to come from the purchase price of the land.