Devine aims for park upgrades

An aerial view of Briscoe Park shows existing structures and trees. Possible locations of a splash pad and other additions including a pavilion, gazebo, horseshoe court, half-basketball court, and increased parking are outlined in yellow. Existing water and sewer lines are also shown.

The short but intense debate over whether to seek a grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPW) to add a splash pad and other amenities to Briscoe Park was put to rest on July 24 when the Devine City Council voted 4-1 to move ahead in its pursuit.
Council members David Espinosa, Steve Lopez, David Valdez, and Kathy Wilkins voted in favor, while Councilman Cory Thompson dissented.
The City is seeking TPW’s Non-Urban Outdoor Recreation grant, which provides 50 percent matching funds up to $500,000 to assist with the procurement and/or development of public recreation areas and facilities.
Longtime City grant writers Langford Community Management Services, Inc. is writing the grant and will submit an application on the City’s behalf. The deadline to apply is October 1, but results will not be announced until 2018.
The possibility of applying for the grant in order to add more attractions at Briscoe Park, located at Windy Knoll and Colonial Parkway, was first raised at a Public Hearing and City Council meeting held July 18. A handful of Devine residents attended and raised questions about both the cost of the grant and the speed with which Council was moving on the issue, and whether a splash pad made sense for the community. Thompson also had his own list of questions about the project, some of which he said came from his constituents in District 5.
After over an hour of discussion, Council ultimately voted 5-0 against seeking the grant.
As news of the decision spread the next day, both Council members and City Hall received phone calls from other Devine citizens who were critical of the outcome and wanted the bid for the grant to proceed. This ultimately led to the decision to call the Special meeting and revisit the issue.
A more in-depth look the grant proposal and the questions surrounding it will be in next week’s edition of The Devine News.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer