Park Board considers Hunt development parks, Use Agreements

During its regular Dec. 14, 2016 meeting, the Forney Park & Rec. Board met and (this is the preliminary report, subject to change):

  • Held a 1.2 hour discussion re: Hunt Properties Park Land Dedication. The highlights are:
      The board was addressed by Mr. Hunt and Mr. Bain. Mr. Hunt said when they became involved in Forney, Mayor Grooms made a point of wanting public/private partnerships. Mr. Hunt said he had no idea how important parks were, talked about Dallas parks, and they now want to include parks and open spaces in developments. He said there were several unique opportunities here; he then talked about the Klyde Warren park in Dallas. He said the previous city manager said the city needs playing fields.
      Mr. Bain said they own about 2,000 acres, in two major park areas, totaling about 40 acres. N. will be near the water park (which will be about 8 acres). They would like assurance this 40 acres will satisfy all the development requirements.
      Mr. Curry said parking for the water park and sports fields will be busy during same time of year. Mr. Hunt said this was a concept Mr. Brooks came up with. Mr. Curry said he has seen several revisions, this is one he has not seen; the requirements based on dwelling units would be 56 acres. There was discussion about pocket parks which would be HOA owned and maintained.
      Mr. Curry stated parks must be out of flood plain. Multi-purpose athletic fields must be usable. The last he had heard from Mr. Brooks was these fields would be maintained by the HOA but scheduled by the city - Mr. Bain said the land would be dedicated to the city. Mr. Curry said this land would not work for that, but would be OK for open space. There was discussion about what was in flood plain. He also pointed out if more dwelling units went in, more parks would be required. Mr. Bain stated his understanding from Mr. Brooks was if they did this and put up money for the water park, this would be satisfactory. Mr. Curry said he and Brian never had that discussion, but the board would work with them. Balancing public parks vs. amenity centers was difficult. He discussed ball/athletic field requirements, how popular the new park is, having the N. side fields would help, developing would require a bond, about $22 million.
      There was discussion about the Splash Kingdom water park - Mr. Hunt said they would buy land from the EDC, donate it plus more to the city, plus money to the water park. He also mentioned having to rebuild nearby roads. Mr. Ketteman explained Gateway would buy land from the EDC, that cash would be used to incentivize the water park; the EDC spent $166,000 last year to clear the land with Army Corps Engineers. Mr. Bain suggested placement of ball fields and walking trails.
      The board expressed thanks for the land, but wondered about the cost of developing the parks. Some of the property is less desirable, it's better if the HOAs maintain green space. Mr. Curry said he was surprised by this ((doing one dedication for the whole development)), and wouldn't be able to give an answer tonight.
      There was discussion about the master trail concept - this property isn't part of that, but a trail could be counted as green space / park land. Mr. Hunt said a couple athletic fields could be placed on the 12 acre site.
      The board discussed income from the water park, which is indirect to the city. Splash Kingdom prefers to open in May (of any year), so construction would need to begin the end of the preceding summer.
      Mr. Curry said he would need 6 months to consider this plan, get with architect, pick the right mix of fields. Considering need for bonds & such, will be couple of years. He told Mr. Hunt & Mr. Bain he appreciated them coming to present this.
      The board expressed concern about accepting dedication without knowing the full number of homes that will be built. There was some debate about having the developer present a design vs. having the city do the design; Mr. Curry prefers to have the city do it.
      Mr. Ketteman stressed there are no signed agreements on this, a lot of drafts about having a park N. of Hwy 80. The Nov. TIF board meeting brought this issue up.
  • Held a 1 hour discussion about proposed changes to the 2017 Facility Use Agreement.
Wednesday, 2016, December 14