• September 16, 2014

Mother Neff State Park road may close

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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 11:50 am

MOODY — A proposal to close a park road through Mother Neff State Park to through-traffic sparked protest from some nearby farmers and ranchers who use Park Road 14 as a shortcut to State Highway 236.

Coryell County commissioners discussed the road during their meeting Monday.

“This is going to be a contentious issue,” County Judge John Firth said.

Firth and Commissioner Don Jones are seeking a meeting with the Texas Department of Transportation and park officials to argue for keeping the road open.

“The landowners are upset,” Jones said. “But it is not our call. We don’t have a dog in the hunt. It’s a TxDOT road.”

As part of the first phase of an expansion and redevelopment project at Mother Neff, the main entrance will be placed at the north end of the park, said Park Superintendent Leah Huth.

To provide better security and collect entrance fees, the new main gate would become the control point for all traffic in and out of the park, she said. The old main entrance at the south end of the park would be secured with a gate, closing Park Road 14 to traffic.

“It is unusual to have a county road go through a state park,” Huth said.

“We are exploring the feasibility of closing the road through the park. It is not a done deal and it will not occur, if it happens at all, for a year or two.”

Park Road 14 is not a county road, but it connects to Oglesby Neff Road, which is owned by the Texas Department of Transportation but has been maintained by Coryell County.

From Farm-to-Market 107 northwest of the park, Oglesby Neff Road runs southeast toward the park and merges with Park Road 14 within the park boundaries.

The park proposes to place a gate across the road at the park boundary about a half-mile past the Station Creek bridge, which was recently rebuilt by the state to withstand heavier traffic.

“They are going to close the road at the new bridge,” Firth said.

“In effect, the bridge becomes a total waste.”

Traffic closed from the park cutoff would have to cross a smaller wooden bridge on the way to FM 107.

“When (farmers) harvest grain, they come through with big machinery,” Jones said. “That wooden bridge is going to fall in.”

While some landowners oppose the closing, Huth said, others have voiced support for the proposal to limit heavy traffic on the road.

“The park gets a lot of local support and we want to be sensitive to that,” she said.

“Some people have expressed legitimate concerns that need to be addressed.”

The new gates would be equipped with keypads and could be opened by people with the access code, Huth said.

The gates would open automatically for vehicles exiting from inside the park.

Jones and Firth asked residents with concerns about the proposed road closing to submit their comments in writing to the county judge at 800 E. Main St., Suite A, Gatesville, TX 76528.

Huth said the park also would welcome comments for or against the proposal sent to Mother Neff State Park, 1680 State Highway 236, Moody, TX 76557.

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