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Hickory Creek mulls park improvements

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

HICKORY CREEK — The town of Hickory Creek’s park and recreation board proposed several park improvement projects to City Council members on Tuesday, including a new dog park and a lakeside pavilion.

Council members were reluctant to vote on the projects and requested that the park and recreation board obtain more detailed information about the projects, including final costs and designs, and determine if there is community support for the projects.

Other projects presented by the board were adding a pavilion in Sycamore Bend Park and making improvements to bring the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The pavilion would be used for events like fishing competitions and concerts.

The pavilion is estimated to cost about $40,000, but council members tabled their vote, pending the Economic Development Corporation’s approval.

Officials also briefly discussed improving the Elm Fork Hiking and Equestrian Trails near the lake, but council members declined to commit to any of the projects.

“We need more information on the items before we can act,” Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Clark said. “I don’t think anyone here thinks the projects are bad ideas. We just need to make sure that we make the best decision for our community.”

Specific details about some of the projects weren’t readily available, but board members said Tuesday’s meeting was just an attempt to gauge whether or not the council members were supportive of the projects.

Council members spent most of the discussion talking about the board’s dog park project.

Board member Tom Bont said the initial estimate for the dog park is approximately $50,000, which board officials said could be funded with grants or EDC funds.

Bont presented the council with at least two options for the dog park’s location.

One suggested location is near Point Vista Park and the other location is near the Public Works Facility at 970 Main St.

Council members said Point Vista would probably be an ideal location because it sits on the lake, and a dog park next to the lake would make a unique destination, officials said.

But because the park land is leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the council instructed the park and recreation board to receive approval.

“I think we need to see how they feel about a dog park before we can act or make any decisions,” Clark said.

The possibility of a dog biting someone or attacking another dog also worried officials because of liability issues.

Other council members shared Clark’s concerns and agreed to postpone any decisions on the dog park.

Council members also delayed voting on a proposal to build a butterfly garden near the Public Works Facility.

The board proposed using EDC funds to pay for the garden’s estimated cost of $15,000.

Bont said he wanted to present the project items to the council to gauge whether or not members would support the items.

“I want to know whether y’all think this is a good idea or bad idea,” he said. “If you think a dog park is a good idea, then we’ll keep working on it. If you don’t, then we’ll stop wagging our tails.”

Bont said he hopes to revisit the council within the next two to three months after the park board puts together more details about the projects.

In other business, council members did agree to spend no more than $2,850 on making Sycamore Bend Park more accessible to people with disabilities.

Officials said the park’s steep slope could cause problems for a disabled person who wants to travel to either the park restrooms or boat dock.

The approved funds will be used to correct the slope and add additional handicapped parking.

“We need to get that park where it needs to be for everyone,” Mayor John Smith said.

JOHN HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is .