Parks & Recreation Department holds town hall meeting
Fri, 2016-10-28 05:00 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Approximately 30 residents showed up on Wednesday evening for the town hall meeting held by the
Copperas Cove Parks & Recreation Department.
The meeting was held for the department to give an update on future improvements to the city’s park system through the next several years, as well as talk about the department’s athletics and aquatics programs, along with the Hills of Cove Golf Course, as well as give the public opportunity to ask questions.
Parks & Recreation director Joe Brown spent about 30 minutes talking about the upcoming park improvements set to begin in 2017 and to continue through 2021, with City Park to see $1.25 million in improvements, $92,000 to be put in to Kate Street Park and $179,367 into Highland Park during 2017.
He also covered the restoration fees, which he called “deferred maintenance” that will benefit the parks and the golf course years down the road.
Brown spoke about the department’s plan for community activities and said that the city has hired a special events coordinator, who will likely be starting next week. The special events coordinator will help plan and execute events to include the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Polar Bear Swim, along with new events for 2017, a food truck festival and a farmer’s market.
“These events can expand from a community event to a regional event,” Brown said. He also said the department will release a Parks & Recreation magazine, in which everything parks and recreation and tourism related will be in that guide and will be launched November 1.
He also discussed the progress of the city’s concessions vendor, Er Thang Cajun, which operates the grill at the Hills of Cove Golf Course and also the concession stands at the parks, describing it as a challenge for making money, although it did quite well during the summer pool season. Er Thang Cajun has had an established, successful food truck business in the Killeen area, so this is something new for him, Brown said.
Brown’s presentation was followed by a presentation by Nic Cantrell, parks and recreation superintendent, who talked about the athletic programs and gave updates.
He said the department shifted the soccer seasons to fall and winter, and also talked about the new agreement the city has with the Copperas Cove Athletic Officials Association.
Cantrell said most complaints that arise in athletics are with officiating and the department is looking at how to make that better.
“What we added to the contract this year is more fine print about training. I think training is the biggest thing we can do, that they know our bylaws and also the rules of play,” Cantrell said, adding that it’s also important everybody is on the same page and they know how to handle conflict management, especially when some of the coaches get competitive and might get riled up.
Cantrell also said they are also focusing on better uniform quality through their partnership with C&C Sporting Goods.
Discussion came back to the Hills of Cove Golf Course, with Brown stating the course will be having new cart paths installed and that the department will continue chipping away at the deficit the course operates in every year.
“We can ignore the problem or try to make it better,” he said. Brown said nobody is trying to get rid of the golf course, but the department is trying to make the golf course better and breathe new life into it.
Discussion arose from one golfer who said he didn’t care about the cart paths whenever he played golf somewhere, but the condition of the greens and fairways. He talked about Johnson grass being an issue, something Brown said the golf course personnel are working on.
In fact, Brown said the city has hired a light equipment operator and a laborer who will both be working on the golf course, and hopes to have an irrigation tech hired soon.
“That will be a lot of hours put back into maintenance,” Brown stated.
City Manager Andrea Gardner was present at the meeting and offered input as to combating the deficit, which the city’s general fund helps make up every year. She said they are hopeful but not confident that the fund will be back in the black within five years.
Other questions arose regarding a possible dog park at Ogletree Gap, with Brown stating the city would welcome a corporate sponsor to help with funding, and that the city is also looking for a way to fund $25,000 in fencing repairs at the Copperas Cove Cemetery.
The department will have future town hall meetings every quarter.