TEMPLE. TX — Temple is close to completing 21 projects as part of a 2015 bond package.
Four years ago, voters approved a $27.6 million bond package, which increased the taxes of the average homeowner by $50 dollars a year per $100,000 taxable valuation. They will pay for the improvements for 20 years.
Senior citizens who with a homestead exemption have a capped tax rate so they are not paying for the bond package.
Temple Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Beavers said 20 out of 21 projects have been completed. Some of the improvements funded through the measure include adding new playgrounds and hiking trails to neighborhood and community parks.
"We want to give residents the exact same amenities you can find in a bigger city... without the traffic," Beavers said.
Andrea Uhler took her grandson to Oak Creek Park, which had a farm-themed playground with an artificial turf.
"I love the turf. I love the kids being able to run on the turf if they want and not have to worry about all the grass," Uhler said.
Currently, the largest project called Crossroads Recreational Complex, remains under construction. The park will feature a 27-hole disc golf course, seven soccer fields, four baseball fields, four softball fields, six tennis courts and and a hiking trail.
Beavers said the athletic complex was expected to open last year but the summer drought delayed opening day.
"We had the delay sprigging the fields and doing some other work because we were under a water restriction and that's what kind of slowed us down. We were hoping to already be up for play," Beavers said.
When the bond passed, a news release stated the project would cost $11.2 million. However, the estimated cost now is $14.3 million.
According to Beavers, the city spent more funds than anticipated on the Southwest Community park because 90 acres were bought instead of 30.
He added Southwest Community Park will be close in size to Lions Park and Wilson Park.
"Using this strategy, we used more of the money for land purchase than originally planned which left us with less for improvements. Due to this, we shifted the remaining dollars to Crossroads Park to make some additional enhancements to hopefully make it a destination park for tournaments and play," Beavers said.
Crossroads Parks is expected to be complete in September.