Springtown City Council approves over six miles of road repairs, modifications to Springtown Park
- January 29, 2024
Monday, January 29, 2024
On Thursday, January 25, 2024, at the regular meeting of the Springtown City Council, officials approved over $2.7 million in road repairs which will greatly improve the condition of over six miles of roadway within the City limits and voted to authorize staff to make modifications to the City’s largest park in the area of the Splash Pad.
Both decisions came after months of strategic planning and evaluation of which of the City’s roadways were most in need of improvements and which improvements would have the largest benefit for area residents. Included in the project are roadway improvements for Avenue A, Avenue D, Bonnie Bell Estates, Church Street, Enderby Lane, Hilltop Drive, Northgate, Oakview Drive, E. 3rd Street, E. 6th Street, and E. 9th Street, as well as various utility improvements. A detailed description of the planned improvements can be found here. These projects are funded by the 2023 certificates of obligation (COs) issued by the City Council last summer. “The City was able to issue this round of COs to fund needed infrastructure projects without raising our debt service tax rate,” said City Administrator David Miller. “The ability to fund such a large-scale project without increasing the city’s tax rate is directly attributable to the fiscally conservative financial practices and policies set by the City Council and implemented by city staff, as well as the ongoing growth that we continue to see in our community.”
The roadway improvements project is another in a series of recently completed and ongoing infrastructure projects aimed at updating the City’s aging infrastructure and ensuring that it is able to serve residents in the future as the City continues to grow. “For many decades the City of Springtown did not have the financial resources to adequately maintain its infrastructure. Due to the City Council’s fiscal policies over the last several years – during which they have been able to contribute annually to designated reserves for capital projects – and the ongoing growth which has led to additional sales and ad valorem tax revenues for the City, the City’s financial position is now such that these major projects can be completed without increasing the tax burden on our local residents and businesses,” Miller said.
The project will move into the bid process and will begin construction in late Spring or early Summer 2024.
SPRINGTOWN PARK MODIFICATIONS
In addition to authorizing city staff to proceed with the bid process for the roadway project, the City Council voted at the January 25th meeting, 4-0 (with one council member being absent from the meeting), to authorize the removal of the City’s Splash Pad in preparation to repurpose the area with one of the features contained in the City’s Parks Master Plan which was adopted in 2022. This action brings a conclusion to the over 10-year history of the City’s Splash Pad – a park attraction which has remained closed and non-operational since the end of the 2016 season.
Constructed in 2013, the Splash Pad was built without a recirculatory system which led to the use of hundreds of thousands of gallons of water each summer it was open to operate the attraction. Due to the purchase, treatment, and distribution costs of water (and the resulting wastewater from the system) needed to operate the system, the City Council voted in the fall of 2016 to keep the Splash Pad closed for the 2017 season. Public opinion at the time was divided as to what the future of the Splash Pad should be. As such, it remained closed for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
“Unfortunately, the City Council, at the time that the Splash Pad was designed and constructed, was given advice that was insufficient at best and flat-out incorrect at worst in relation to the need for a recirculatory system,” Miller said. “The individuals responsible for providing that advice are no longer affiliated with the City.”
In 2019, a survey of the City’s utility customers was commissioned to gather feedback from local stakeholders about what their desires for the future of the Splash Pad and the park as a whole were. At the time, less than 50 percent of residents who responded to the survey believed that the $143,000 needed to install a recirculatory system was a priority use of park funds. Due to the inconclusive nature of the results (no proposed option received more than 50 percent of responses), the City Council voted to keep the Splash Pad closed, but to delay final action until a Parks Master Plan was created. Following the appointment of Parks Master Plan steering committee made up of local residents, elected officials, and city staff, the City Council adopted a Parks Master Plan in 2022 which, among other improvements, called for the revitalization of the current Splash Pad into a fountain park that would include a recirculatory system and which would be beneficial to visitors of all ages. To fund the transition of the Splash Pad to a fountain park, the City of Springtown applied for Texas Parks and Wildlife grant funding in 2022 and 2023. Unfortunately, the City of Springtown’s project was not selected for funding during either grant cycle.
At a January 18, 2024 workshop, the City Council discussed the results of the grant application as well as possible alternatives for the area – all of which would require the removal of the Splash Pad. To facilitate this, the City Council voted on January 25 to authorize staff to permanently close the Splash Pad and remove the features.
“The current set of elected officials and city staff have been working over the last several years to identify the best solution to a no-win situation. Everyone involved in this decision-making process understands the frustration expressed by our stakeholders that the Splash Pad has was not originally constructed with the proper recirculatory system, forcing it to sit idle for several years. However, I applaud the current City Council for taking an appropriate amount of time to thoroughly consider all relevant factors and outcomes, rather making a hasty decision that could have caused more problems in an already difficult situation. After careful consideration, factoring in citizen input, available funding, and other needs in the park system, the City Council has determined that the best course of action is to remove the current Splash Pad and continue to work to identify the best alternative improvements for the area,” Miller said.
In the immediate future, following the removal of the Splash Pad, the City Council will be presented with various options for the area including relevant cost estimates and construction times. Currently, the City Council has approximately $320,000 in available for improvements to the area. This is in addition to over $120,000 which has been allocated for playground improvements this fiscal year. A final decision as to which improvements will replace the Splash Pad will be made as part of the City’s annual mid-year budget considerations in the Spring of 2024. Monitor www.cityofspringtown.civicweb.net for meeting times, agendas, and streaming links.
Press Contact: Christina Derr, City Secretary/ Public Information Officer (817) 220-4834, email@example.com