• December 22, 2014

Killeen councilman pushes for more parks

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Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2014 4:30 am

A Killeen councilman is asking the city to develop an ordinance that would require additional neighborhood parks to accommodate the city’s growth.

Councilman Steve Harris presented the idea to the Killeen City Council and city staff in a special workshop meeting Tuesday.

“The distance and/or location of the city parks provide challenges for some residents who wish to take their children to the park,” Harris said. “With the large growth that is occurring in south Killeen, neighborhood parks are becoming a necessary part of the city’s growth as well.”

According to the city’s comprehensive plan adopted in 2010, Killeen has eight neighborhood parks that serve residents within walking distance. The city also has seven “pocket parks,” which are typically less than one acre and used to address limited, isolated or unique recreational needs.

City Manager Glenn Morrison said the city plans to review a parks master plan within the next three or four months.

“We want to get out there in the community and hear what the citizens have to say, and what they would like to see in their parks,” he said.

Last month, the council took the first step in improving the city’s existing parks by approving a $20 million capital improvement program, with $4.6 million for parks and recreation.

“We’ll have to pay close attention, get a really good plan in place, follow it closely and look for all opportunities that we have,” Morrison said regarding development of a parks master plan.

Harris proposed the city develop an ordinance that would require developers to reserve one acre of land for every 100 rooftops as park space.

“City parks, which are located in central locations in the city, do not provide the same level of convenience and access for all citizens,” he said. “Neighborhood parks will provide a greater sense of a community and quality of life for those residents who live around (them).”

Morrison said Harris’ specific request will require several meetings, and the city is “up for that,” but it may be more ideal to wait for the development of the parks master plan.

“We want to get it right,” he said. “We could really hit a home run for quality of life here.”

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