Amarillo City Council looking to adjust parks services, potentially close some parks in future

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Tuesday, the Amarillo City Council discussed making adjustments to parks during their work session, after Proposition A failed last week, failing to secure more funding.

No decisions have been made as of yet, but plenty of changes could soon be coming to Amarillo parks.

As MyHighPlains.com previously reported, about $3.2 million will go to parks annually for maintenance and upgrades of current assets as a result of a previously voter-approved property tax increase.

The City of Amarillo said between $3.3-3.8 million is needed annually for current parks assets, especially as $50 million in assets are failing. For perspective, the city said it has $100 million in total parks assets.

“The reality is when you look at our network, the playgrounds are falling apart, the ball fields are falling apart. A lot of the infrastructure hasn’t really been improved since probably the ’70s. you look at the lighting throughout almost all of our parks, it’s dated,” said Michael Kashuba, the director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation, on Tuesday.

Kashuba told the City Council more assets will begin to fail if they are not fixed or upgraded soon.

“If you don’t put preventative maintenance back into those things, they start to decay much quicker,” said Kashuba. “Really what we’ve run into is a lot of our assets really can’t be repaired, they need to just be replaced.”

The council also discussed reallocating parks assets to better serve the entire city, which could include closing some parks down the road.

“Now that we know where we are from a revenue standpoint, we have some hard conversations in front of us, and determining what is the best option out of those difficult conversations remains to be seen,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. “And I don’t know how long it’ll take, we’ll just have to get that information and start those conversations.”

The council did vote unanimously Tuesday to approve an agreement for design services for athletic facilities. It’s a nearly $100,000 agreement for the redevelopment of five sports complexes within existing parks.

“That was previously budgeted funds so that we would have an idea going forward, what it would cost to redevelop some of our sports fields to improve those,” said Mayor Nelson. “We want to be competitive for sports, youth tournaments and those are revenue-generating things.”

Those parks are Martin Road Park, John Stiff Memorial Park, Southeast Park, Rick Klein Park, River Road Park, and Thompson Park.

According to the city’s agenda, the proposed development will include lighted baseball/softball fields, parking, restroom/concession buildings, playgrounds, and other miscellaneous facilities appropriate to a regional sports complex.

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