Early approves master plan for Town Center

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Early Town Center master plan

EARLY — The City of Early has taken another step toward building a Town Center. 

After taking receiving public input, the Early City Council recently approved the master plan for the Town Center, which will consist of recreational amenities that will "work perfect for the community," the city said on its Facebook page.

In 2020, the Early Municipal Development District purchased 65 acres of land that runs adjacent to the Pecan Bayou. The decision was made to develop that land into the Town Center, stretching from the Old May Road east to the Pecan Bayou.

Plans are to develop about 25 acres of the property for recreational use, with the remainder of the property developed for stores, restaurants and offices. 

“The public has an ongoing outcry and request for more things to do for our kids and families," City Administrator Tony Aaron said in the city's Facebook post.

The Town Center will offer an inexpensive way for families to get outside and spend time together, Aaron said.

"It will be unlike other outdoor areas because it will have many types of activities in one place," Aaron said. The center will be within walking distance of new restaurants, hotels, apartments and shopping, and "this is a place that you can come and stay for a few hours or the whole day with your friends, family, and neighbors," he said.

"We couldn't be more excited for what is happening.” 

According to the city's Facebook page, amenities approved in the master plan are:

• Batting cages.

• Lighted walking trail.

• 1-acre dog park.

• Lakeside recreational area with a playground, benches, picnic tables, a pavilion/stage for family gatherings and outdoor events,

• A 6.5-acre golf playground area allowing for practice play on six full size greens with a small tee area capable of accommodating shots up to 225 yards, a 12,000-square-foot putting green and an 18-hole putting course.

Additionally, the city is working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to construct a 5-acre neighborhood fishing pond which includes two lighted fishing piers, the city said on its Facebook page.

Once the pond is reshaped, a parks and wildlife biologist working with the City of Early will build a habitat for the fish and aquatic life. The pond will be stocked with native sporting fish and give fishermen a chance to have a high catch rate.

Discussions are ongoing about the possibility of paddle boats and kayaking rentals.

The amenities could be subject to change as the city moves forward and develops construction plans, the city said on its Facebook page.

As an example, the golf component could change to additional open space and more of a family style miniature golf, the city said.

Planning is already under way to address funding and includes applying for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Non-Urban Grant of up to $850,000, which would require a cash and in-kind match from the city.

Another funding opportunity is the new Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat and Angler Access grant of up to $50,000, and could be used for habitat enhancement and the fishing piers. 

The Town Center will be developed based on "phased timelines," Aaron said in May.

Aaron said then that he hoped the recreational use area would be open within 2 to 16 months,” Aaron said.