City Council discusses additional parks-related plans, up for vote Oct. 12

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Along with the city of Amarillo’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan being approved during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the council heard from officials about two additional plans which could further impact the department, as well as the city as a whole, down the road. 

The Amarillo City Council heard information about the Public Arts and Beautification Plan, as well as the city’s Hike and Bike Master Plan, during Tuesday’s meeting. These individual plans are expected to be voted on by the council during the next regular meeting of the city council on Oct. 12. 

City of Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller said it was important for the council to hear about the two plans, as well as the overall parks plan, altogether during Tuesday’s meeting.

“These plans are stand-alone plans, but they are also integral to how we put together the Parks Master Plan,” Miller told the council during the meeting. 

Public Arts and Beautification Plan 

Cindy Mendoza, the director of parks and recreation with MIG Consulting, also helped the city with these two stand-alone plans, as well as the parks and recreation department’s master plan. She said the public arts and beautification plan will help strengthen and coordinate the city’s initiatives surrounding those two items. 

This plan is expected to help create an intent for the city to create a sustainable public arts and beautification program, Mendoza said. This includes creating a nonprofit foundation to oversee efforts and raise funds for the program, as well as create a separate department for these initiatives. Other steps in the vision include the installation of art projects throughout the city and integrating arts throughout parks facilities. 

To implement the vision, the Public Arts and Beautification Advisory Board, which was involved in the creation of the plan, helped create a three-year action plan which would help the overall goal move forward. This plan was based on an estimated budget of $60,000 which would go to the program each year. 

If the council votes in favor of the Public Arts and Beautification Plan, the first year’s portion of the action plan would begin with the organization using the funds to continue the organization’s efforts, like the Mural Grant Project and various neighborhood cleanup events. 

As the action plan moves into years two and three, Mendoza said the plan would grow, continuing the expected $60,000 in funding, further expanding and sustaining the program. 

“Then in year two, (we expect) the same amount of funding, but (plan to reallocate) it towards creating the arts and beautification staff position, with the staff then able to start to mobilize efforts to expand funding and resources for the arts,” she said. “Then, in the third year, that’s where you bring in the 1%… ordinance which brings in different funding sources. You’d start new fundraising initiatives. There’s more of an understanding of the partnerships and relationships to move forward on a couple of new art installations, programs and beautification projects.” 

Hike and Bike Master Plan

The Hike and Bike Master Plan would be a collaboration between multiple departments, Mendoza said, including the city’s public works department and the parks and recreation department. The different perspectives from the various departments would help implement an expanded trails vision for the city of Amarillo. 

This vision, which includes a future plan for connecting the various regional parks throughout Amarillo, would take some time, Mendoza said. The focus on trails and connecting various parks with the trails came from data, from both a survey conducted by the city’s parks and recreation department as well as state-level data. 

“It recognizes the fact that we really would like to connect those regional parks that you have in the city to improve the opportunity to walk and bike to those regional parks,” she said. 

With this future vision, there are certain priority projects which the city of Amarillo would focus on, if the plan was eventually approved by the council. These projects include: 

  • Constructing the Ninth Avenue bike trails and trailhead; 
  • Extending the Rock Island trail to Medical Center Park, Downtown and John Stiff Park;
  • Establishing a citywide on-street bicycle network; 
  • Building a north to south trail spine which connects to regional parks; 
  • Renovating Tornado Alley BMX Raceway.

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