The Van Alstyne Parks & Recreation Board recently considered plans for several of the city’s parks, including the one on land the City Council agreed to purchase last month.


The Parks & Rec board advises the city manager on ideas on what would be in the best interest of the city’s parks and the public’s best use of them. Representatives from Pacheco Koch consulting engineers talked about all the concepts they have been working on, including the yet to be named sports park between Dallas Street and Kelly Lane on the south end of town.


They also presented possible changes to North Park and the proposed downtown park, possibly being built on what is the block that now houses the Van Alstyne Public Works Department. That department is being relocated to Spain Road, and, after that happens, the city-owned block is possibly going to be renovated into a park for family and group use.


City Manager Lane Jones asked the board to consider the possibility of moving the two softball fields currently at the McKinney-Wilson (East) Park to the new south park. The concepts involved layouts with one showing two softball fields, and another depicting four softball fields.


Board Chairman Sue Lynn Voigt asked the board to determine whether it is “going to replace what we have now (two fields) or going to look at (accommodating) what’s coming (population growth).”


Because this 10-acre property has several residential areas around it, Jones said there would need to be an ordinance saying the lights must go off at a certain time. The field also has parking provided on two sides, a concession stand, storeroom, playground, warm-up and huddle areas, and a multi-purpose field that could be used for soccer or other sports.


Of the two concepts, the board agreed that four fields would serve the community better for a longer period of time than the two-field design.


They also seemed to agree on an initial design, from several offered, for the new downtown park, which will be surrounded by North Main, Van Alstyne Parkway, Preston, and Cooper streets. This design showed designated locations for a music or entertainment stage, a farmers market and had other amenities such as restrooms, concessions and a possible splash park. Parking would be available on the property the city also agreed to purchase that parallels the railroad track and North Main.


Jones mentioned that maintenance on these new parks will fall upon the city, as it does for the current ones.


Other ideas discussed included the possibility of renaming North Park to become Memorial Park. Also, the board will be looking at ideas for improvements for better use of Dorothy Fielder Park, downtown and the possibility of repairing or replacing the gazebo. Voigt said the board needs to be considering a game plan about a long-term concept for the park.


Likewise, once the softball fields are moved from East Park, the board wants to have a plan in place to make the best use of the vacated space.


Jones asked the board to provide him with applications for people interested in working on a Community Advisory Board for more input on the park planning process.


The possibility of obtaining a surveillance camera for Forest Moore Park was also brought up during the meeting. Jones presented one, which is a portable operational device with high definition and zoom capabilities that can read a license plate number and see two blocks away. It can be monitored on laptop or desktop computers, web browser or any type of smartphone. About financing for this, Voigt remembered a grant that was offered in January and said she would see whether it is still available.