West residents say they want input after park plan unveiled - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

West residents say they want input after park plan unveiled

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WEST - A new concept park plan is unveiled to residents and while they're happy with the progress, there are issues.

Complete with a pavilion, walkways, a memorial and 15 trees for those who died in the explosion the new plan was unveiled to West residents in a Town Hall Meeting Tuesday night. Residents were happy to see the progress, but some say they want more input. Some of their ideas weren't in the plan. 

Pat Wright is a member of the park committee. He asked the civil engineer who gave the presentation how the community can have more input. He just wanted to make sure the community and the city has their say. 

"A lot of things that were mentioned were not on those plans so I just want to make sure. I know it's a concept plan just want to make sure there is room to grow and either take away or add what's needed," Wright said after the meeting. 


Mayor Tommy Muska, though, says some ideas just won't work.

"It's a city park, you have to look at sustainability of a park, you have to look at maintenance of a park. I'd love to have a water park but what's the maintenance cost ten years, 15 years from now. We've got to be able to afford the park," Muska said. 

Muska says the park will be constructed in three phases. The first will be the reconstruction of what the park used to be. Those are rest rooms, tennis and basketball courts, a pavilion and a playground.

The second phase will be to build a memorial. The third stage, which Muska says is a ways down the road, will be to put something in the field that is currently the West ISD's old baseball field. That could be a number of things including a soccer field.

To fund the project money will come in from FEMA, insurance and the money raised by Parker Pustejovsky in honor of his dead who was killed in the explosion. FEMA could kick in as much as $600,000, but that final number is yet to be established. The insurance will cover about a $100,000 and Parker's money is around $100,000 as well.

Muska says because they are getting money from FEMA they had to change up some plans from the older concepts. That's because FEMA requires repairs to the courts and rest rooms to have them be exactly as they were before the explosion.

David Baldwin is the architect who made the drawings for the most recent concept. The civil engineer for the project says Baldwin has impressive credentials. He also says Baldwin isolated himself in Colorado for a week to make the drawing.

Wright says he likes the drawings and thinks there will be a good park for the city of West. He's just concerned about the memorial which is part of phase 2. Baldwin made an early idea for a memorial consisting of four rooms showing the history, the blast, a site overlook and a remembrance room for the lives lost. Wright says the people who were most affected should make that memorial.

"I think anybody speak on that behalf even if you were from West or live in the city limits, I think those people who were affect probably need, would be the ones who would decide what goes in that part," Wright said. 

Residents also heard the latest about the infrastructure repairs going on in Zone 3 in West in the beginning of the meeting. A large map shows plans to get rid of street drainage for some streets, slight repair others and keep some the same. They will pave them with concrete and then when all construction of homes are done, they will pave with asphalt. 

There are currently 49 homes being built in the city of the 142 damaged. The city says those damaged homes took up a huge part of the water revenue for the city. That's why they're looking to rebuild new lines for the homes to bring back in residents and bring in more revenue to the city. 

The city hopes to send out bids for the infrastructure project by the end of January. It's expected to take about 15-16 months to complete. 
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