CORINTH — Children and parents visiting the city’s parks may begin to notice several differences and city officials are hoping that the changes will make the parks more enjoyable all year.
Approximately $800,000 will be used to upgrade Corinth Community Park, a project that includes improving infrastructure, adding shaded structures, fixing drainage issues and making other improvements to the park.
The project was approved last week during a City Council meeting. The project is being paid for through the city’s Park Capital Improvement Fund and a grant through the Corinth Economic Development Corporation.
City Council members said it took a lot of cooperation between multiple people to get the money in place to allow the improvements to happen.
Earlier this year, the city formed the Parks Improvement Committee, which includes council members, city staff members and an athletics specialist.
The committee met a few times this summer to develop recommended improvements to Community Park and cost estimates.
“This was definitely a team effort,” council member Lowell Johnson said. “I know the citizens will enjoy what were going to do with the Community Park.”
Other park improvements include adding a lightning prediction and warning system, soccer goals, batting cages, an additional T-ball field and 140 more parking spaces.
In its 2012-13 operation budget, the economic development corporation approved a $750,000 incentive match for a parks grant, and city staff members have proposed putting up about $403,000 to be matched by the corporation, City Manager Jim Berzina said.
American Parks Co., a Prosper-based playground equipment firm, was recently awarded a contract by Corinth to install play structures and shade structures at the neighborhood parks.
This fiscal year, the city has invested more than $1 million in park improvements with the approval of the funds for Community Park.
Last winter, the city made $250,000 in improvements to nine city parks. The improvements were completed just in time for spring.
Improvements included adding sun shading on playground equipment, installing playground sets, repairing picnic tables and installing some landscaping.
To pay for the improvements, city officials used funds from its Park Development Fund, which is designed for that purpose, Berzina said.
He said that the improvements were made because some residents began to complain that a lot of the playground equipment was too hot for their children to climb on during the summer.
He said that the sun-shaded equipment will allow the children to play on the playground all year.
City officials say more improvements could be on the way. Some improvements that park committees recommended for some of the parks were left of the list of improvements.
Some of those items include basketball and sand volleyball courts.
Berzina described the courts as “money hogs” and said they are expensive and require regular maintenance.
“When you make improvements, you want to make sure you can afford the installation and maintenance,” Berzina said.
He said that the city will revisit the idea of adding sand volleyball and basketball courts sometime next year or the year after.
The city has tried to improve its parks each year and leaders plan to continue that effort, Berzina said.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.