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Plans for park improvements progressing

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera City Park, one of the jewels of the municipality, encompasses some 75 acres as it meanders along the banks of the Medina River. Recently it has sparked increased interest as plans are in the hopper for educational play stations and a playground and a walking and jogging trail. Even long moribund plans for a skate park have been reconstituted.

During a meeting on Thursday, April 4, Councilman Brandi Morgan, who has been working on the park for the past two years, presented council with information on playground plans and project progress.

She reminded council that at the beginning of fiscal year 2013-2014 in October, $30,000 had been approved for improvements that included trails, equipment and picnic tables. Morgan's interest has always been installment of educational free-standing structures along a trail rather than a more traditional playground. She offered detailed information supplied by AAA State of Play in Indianapolis, Indiana, and GameTime, of Fort Payne, Alabama.
"The smaller structures would be scattered independently from the snow cone stand to the back restrooms," she said.

The installations included "Music," to be placed on a concrete slab, across from the Bandera County Boys & Girls Club; "Butterflies," between the B&G Club and the restrooms located in the back of the park; "Spiders and Bugs," just before the two pavilions; "Bees and Flowers," located behind the snow cone stand; and "Nature and Trees," beside the restrooms in the back of the park.

Each modular unit would include several educational features as well as signage explaining the educational concepts of the installation.

Equipment cost totaled $24,500, not including a $7,500 installation fee, plus freight and shipping.

Councilman Binky Archer, who was appointed head of the Bandera Economic Development Foundation Park Committee on Wednesday, April 10, said she and Morgan were waiting for quotes from other companies supplying commercial grade playground equipment.

The spanner in the works, however, might be estimates for a proposed walking and jogging trail. Labor and materials for an asphalt trail were estimated to be $20,000 and $10,000 for a trail of crushed red granite, according to City Administrator Mike Cardenas. He declared constructing a trail from mulch "not a good option."
Mayor Don Clark favored going with asphalt.

At that point, Morgan reminded council that last year's $30K appropriation funded only equipment.

When asked about the efficacy of asphalt vs. granite during flooding, Cardenas said the trail would be located close to a present fence line, and would not be affected by rushing water. "Granite would hold up fine in rising water," he said.

Lynn Palmer, a member of the EDC, said most walkers and joggers currently use the asphalt road in the park as a trail.

To accommodate walkers and a proposed play station, council gave Cardenas authority to move an existing fence toward Maple Street. "Without the fence blocking certain areas walking through the park will be easier," Morgan said.

Due to the expense, Morgan advocated not constructing the trail with asphalt. Planning and zoning member Glenn Clark seemed to favor constructing the trail with granite, which could be compacted later as a base for eventual asphalt.

It was revealed that an EDC contribution of an additional $30,000 would be used to construct a more traditional playground. Morgan indicated she would have a formal proposal ready for the council meeting on Thursday, April 18.

Meanwhile, Mayor Pro Tem John Hegemier still held out hope that his long-awaited concrete picnic tables will be installed, too.

Pictured: Photos courtesy of AAA State of Play

Photos courtesy of AAA State of Play
Climbing flowers

Photos courtesy of AAA State of Play
Spring bouncer

Photos courtesy of AAA State of Play
Sweet sounds - music installation