BELTON — The Miller Springs Nature Center will continue to be open for at least another year.

The Belton City Council — in a 6-0 decision on Tuesday, with Councilman Dan Kirkley absent — approved a one-year extension of a lease agreement for the 258-acre reserve.

“We’re very, very pleased with the lease agreement we have between the city of Temple and Corps of Engineers,” Belton City Manager Sam Listi said.

The agreement — which was formed last year after the sudden shutter of the scenic area in the summer of 2017 — is between Belton, Temple and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The initial contract to which the cities agreed had a term of one year, with four one-year renewals.

The Temple City Council will consider a one-year renewal at their next meeting on March 21, city spokeswoman Shannon Gowan said.

Matt Bates, the Belton Parks and Recreation director, said his department coordinates volunteer efforts while Temple handles more day-to-day operations.

“We love (the partnership), and we would love to keep doing it,” Bates said.

Last year, volunteers worked more than 605 hours inside Miller Springs — located off FM 2271 near the Belton Dam — according to a Belton staff report.

“That’s huge,” Bates said of the volunteer hours. “We have 175 people signed up for volunteer opportunities.”

The next volunteer day is scheduled for April 27. Email to join the volunteer list.

As Temple and Belton start their second year managing the nature reserve, they have formed a list of potential improvements for 2019. Those projects include installing permanent trail signage, repairing the old boardwalk and restoring the trails.

Additionally, there are plans for a regional project to set up a pollinator and butterfly area in Miller Springs. Belton, Temple, Salado and Baylor Scott & White would support that effort.

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