Brownwood City Council members approved a $100,000 upgrade Tuesday to playground equipment at Riverside Park, one of numerous action items taken up by the council in a rare night meeting.

Council members began by seating newly elected councilman Walker Willey in Ward 5, and reseating incumbents Ed McMillian and Larry Mathis, who were unopposed for re-election. Willey defeated incumbent Jerry DeHay to win the seat.

The council in approving the Riverside Park upgrade ratified earlier action by the Brownwood Municipal Development District (BMDD).

The BMDD board budgeted $100,000 this year for a possible park project, and the council asked the BMDD to consider a Riverside Park project at a previous workshop, BMDD director Ray Tipton told council members.   

The BDD/city staff requested proposals from playground and park vendors, and the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory board recommended a proposal from We Build Fun Inc. of Allen, council members were told.

The company’s proposal was recommended because its outdoor/nature theme fits well with Riverside Park, council members were told. In the proposal, the new play area replaces an existing slide and merry-go-round but keep the existing swings in the park.

“Now that we are a municipal development district, we can do park improvements, quality of life type things,” Tipton told council members.

In other business, council members:l

• Ratified earlier BMDD action to participate in funding a welding training program in partnership with Central Texas Opportunities at a maximum cost of $21,076. Central Texas Opportunities has applied for a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to develop a quick start welding course to help fill the demand for welders at Barr Fabrication.

The grant will provide $2,100 per student to develop the program. The course will be provided by Ranger College at a cost of $3,058 per student and can accommodate up to 22 students, leaving a deficit to cover the course of $21,076. The classes will be held at Brownwood High School.

• Ratified earlier BMDD action to lease office space at 1 Center Ave. to benefit Texas Tech University for $1,300 a month. 

Texas Tech has been approved to hire an academic advisor in Brown County to work with local schools. The university has signed memorandums of understanding with Texas State Technical College and Ranger College to work with both schools. Students can earn bachelors degrees from from Tech by leveraging the associate degree programs that exist locally.

• Ratified BMDD action for an incentive to Steve Browder for development of Buckhorn Town Ranch Phase III at a maximum of $97,975.

• Ratified BMDD action for a Building Improvement Incentive Program grant and Infrastructure Incentive to Collazo Holdings for a maximum of $33,259, for property at 3300 Milan Drive.

Collazo bought the property from Diamond P. Enterprises last year with the intent to relocate Gators Fun Factory at the location. Diamond P has been leasing back the space while its new location is being renovated.

• Ratified BMDD action for a Building Improvement Incentive Program grant to JGAL Properties for a maximum of $13,148 for property at 110 E. Baker.

• Approved hiring DVO Engineering Consultants to assess the current HVAC system in the Brownwood Coliseum and provide recommendations for a replacement system at a cost of $5,000.

• Approved an ordinance on first reading to close a 50-foot-wide undeveloped street known as Colt Road beginning at FM 45 and continuing north for 1,523 feet.

• Approved an ordinance on first reading to close the undeveloped streets and an alley in the Oakdale Terrace Addition.