Waco Parks Department looking for input on master plan

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 00:04:14-05

The Waco Parks Department is looking for community feedback on the future of its park. February, they will be holding four public forums across the Waco Parks region. 

In December, the Parks Department opened an online survey, inviting park goers to share some of their ideas on the parks. Director John Williams said he was pleased to see that over 3,000 people replied to the survey. "I think the response has been overwhelming for a city this size," Williams said. The feedback is crucial in putting together the planning document for the department for the next couple of years. 

As Waco and the surrounding areas continue to see an influx of new residents, the department is trying to adjust accordingly. "Your community doesn't remain static; you live in the community, the demographics change. If you stay static in what you offer, you may be missing the point of serving everyone who lives in the community, so it's a good idea to keep an eye out." Williams said. 

Nathan Embry has been fairly consistent in making sure his opinions on the park near his neighborhood are known. Embry lives in McGregor near Trail Blaze Park. 

"This neighborhood is generally a young neighborhood. A lot of kids ride their bike in the streets, it can be a safety issue," Embry said.

Right now, Trail Blaze sits as a vast, open green space, with not much else to do. "A lot of parks already have a playscape so to me, it makes sense to explore the idea of [what] it would take to have a playground for kids here."

Embry started the West Highway 84 Neighborhood Association, working to get a playground and other improvements to that park. So far, he's been very active, not only attending meetings but sharing some of his own ideas. 

"This trail line use to be a railway line from McGregor to Waco. I think it would be neat if we had playground to have some educational materials like a podium with the information on the history of the rail," Embry said. He is looking forward to the joint meeting the association will hold with the Parks Department next week.

And Williams is more than happy to hear that sort of feedback. He said it helps the department stay on top of some of the latest trends and people are noticing. 

Logan Sellers recently moved back to Waco after living in Houston and has certainly noticed the difference. "They've added several disc golf courses. It seems like the parks have cleaned up a lot since high school."

And more projects like those could very well be coming soon to communities across McLennan County.

There will be four more chances to share feedback with the Waco Parks Department:

- Thursday, Feb. 2: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. @ Harris Creek Baptist Church (401 Stageline Dr. McGregor, TX 76657
- Monday, Feb. 6: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. @ South Waco Community Center (2815 Speight Ave, Waco, TX 76711)
- Thursday, Feb. 9: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. @ China Spring Intermediate School (4001 Flat Rock Rd, Waco, TX 76708)
- Monday, Feb, 13: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. @ Dewey Community Center (925 N 9th St, Waco, TX 76707)

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