City council glimpses Johnson Park of the future

Some day Johnson Park could might encompass, not only its current footprint, but all the inner city parks of Marble Falls. Think Zilker on Lake Marble Falls.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Marble Falls City Council Members had a glimpse of "parks future" before giving the final nod to the revised Park, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan on Tuesday, March 7.

That included one massive downtown park: Johnson Park.

Director of Parks & Recreation Robert Moss conveyed the endorsement of the Marble Falls Parks & Recreation Commission for the result of the year-long process to update the master plan and introduced Gail Ferry and Matt Bucchin of Halff Associates, contractor for the revision.

Bucchin said three top priorities identified in all the survey responses and public meetings on the revision were to work in concert with the hotel/conference center project, the re-development of Lakeside Park and the consolidation of four downtown parks under one Johnson Park umbrella.

“You think of cities with iconic parks like Zilker Park in Austin. Johnson Park has the possibility of that kind of iconic meaning,” he said.

Chris Pruitt of Patillo, Brown & Hill told the council the city had received an “unmodified” or “clear” audit of the financial operations in the previous fiscal year.

Cash reserves had grown $1.7 million, 19 percent of expenses in the previous fiscal year, said Finance Director Margie Cardenas. “Our target goal is 25 percent and we are getting very close to that.”

“It was not long ago that it was just $300,000,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jane Marie Hurst. “You have done an excellent job.”

Approval of the final plat for Mustang Ridge Estates Development came hand in hand with the report that a fiscal security agreement for construction of required public infrastructure.

The developer, Chad May, was present for the explanation that by Assistant City Manager that street, gutter and sidewalk work were the last hurdle before property sales could begin north of in the Wildflower Subdivision and west of Marble Falls High School. That work, to be done entirely at the developer's expense is estimated at $1,257,615.

A number of contractors were on hand to add support to the council decision to allow for a climate control zone change in the city's energy conservation code.

“Why should we be in a climate zone with Amarillo,” asked one of them.

The result of a change from International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) Zone 3. in which Burnet County has been classed for energy savings construction requirements, to Climate Zone 2, as Travis County, is a significant savings in the bottom line of home construction they said.

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