Brownwood residents give their input on parks, recreation facilities

Steve Nash
Kristi Mitchell was one of 1,118 area residents who completed a survey on Brownwood Parks and Recreation facilities.

Kristi Mitchell of Brownwood said she and her family are frequent visitors at s Coggin Park, Riverside Park and the Massey Sports Complex, and each park offers features she considers favorites.

Mitchell loves the playground for her children at Coggin, the openness of Riverside, and the Massey baseball complex “is a super nice facility — and the children love the playground there, too.” Mitchell said at Coggin Park, where she helped other Cross Classical Academy staff and volunteers watch as students from the academy played. Mitchell as a volunteer at the academy.

Mitchell is one of 1,118 local residents who completed a survey that asked residents for their opinions of Brownwood’s Parks and Recreation facilities including Coggin and Riverside parks, and the sports complex.

Students in a Howard Payne University class taught by Dr. Kevin Kelley publicized and the surveys’ results after approaching city staff and asking if the city had a project for them. Residents had the option of completing the survey online or hard copy.

The HPU students gave a power-point presentation on the survey at Tuesday meeting of the Brownwood City Council.

The survey will be a needed component of the city’s new master plan for Parks and Recreation, city officials said. The goals of the existing parks and recreation master plan had been accomplished and it was time to develop a new survey, Parks and Recreation Director David Withers said.

The survey taken for the existing master plan, which was developed with the help of the Lower Colorado River Authority, had just 300 respondents, Withers said. “To be almost four times that, is fantastic,” Withers said.

Residents’ suggestions will be taken up during budget sessions, city officials said.

Coggin and Riverside parks, and the sports complex, were listed in the survey as the three most visited parks and recreation facilities.

Residents listed walking, hiking and swimming as among their favorite activities and indicated picnics, viewing wildlife and attending festivals as among their reasons for visiting the facilities. Residents listed lighting, playgrounds and walking trails as items they’d like to see more of.

Assistant City Manager Emily Crawford she found it interesting that residents also had high interest in four topics related to water — fishing piers, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. “I was encouraged to see that there was that much interest in those activities,” Crawford said.

With the Pecan Bayou providing a water source in Riverside and Fabis parks, Crawford said, the city could make “minor infrastructure” additions to satisfy what seems to be a high interest.

Mitchell said she thinks the city’s parks and recreation facilities are, overall, “pretty good.”

When asked what she’d like to see added to the city’s parks and recreation facilities, Mitchell replied, “That was kind of a tough one for me. When I (leave Brownwood) I don’t go to other parks so I don’t know what I’m missing.”

Mitchell said it’s good that the city sought residents’ input through the survey. “Any time we can put input into making our parks better, I want to take that opportunity,” Mitchell said. “A lot of times, we’re not asked for input.”