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FEMA inspection complicates Gatesville's park fix

Posted at 9:42 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-01 00:48:22-04

GATESVILLE, TX — The fate of a popular Coryell County park sits in limbo while local and federal leaders consider their options.

Faunt Le Roy Park in Gatesville has a flooding problem, and a visit from FEMA this week has only complicated the matter.

This weekend, the sweet smell of barbecue wafts from Gatesville's Faunt Le Roy Park as the annual Shivaree Festival's cooking contest gets underway.

However, if you dig a little deeper in the park, you'll find conditions people in the town call troubling.

"Currently, it's not very good, but for the most part, I enjoy it," Tyler Hartmann, a resident.

Hartmann runs at the park, but tries to avoid the chasms that were caused by flooding along the Leon River, which surrounds the park.

Due to the chasms in the park, city manager Bill Parry received a disaster declaration from FEMA and an on-site visit this past week. However, he said they hit a slight bump in the road.

The bump?

The Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over navigable rivers like the Leon River. And that adds, yet another, set of paperwork to fill out, and another set of standards to meet.

Parry hopes to fix the erosion and a change in the river's course by what he calls the most viable option.

"So, I want to do the right thing, efficiently and effectively, and so, another option may be, and I'm hopeful that they'll say, it's time for us to look for another location for the park," said Parry."So, have we added months weeks or years to this project? Certainly, I don't think years, and I'm hopeful not months."

Residents like Hartmann remain skeptical of that time frame.

"A year, maybe. I think it'll take a year to get this fixed, probably, maybe longer. They're hoping less, oh yeah, I don't know. We'll See about that," Hartmann said.

Meantime, Parry has put the pressure on himself to get something done.

"I'm hopeful that within a month, we'll be able to move forward," Parry said.

Parry says city leaders have looked at a few possible sites to move the park, but have made no decision.