City of Longview looking to update parks master plan

Published: Sep. 3, 2022 at 12:04 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2022 at 6:31 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The City of Longview will soon be looking for the public’s input about what they’d like to see developed in city parks. And the city plans to hire a consultant to help put the plan together.

Longview Parks and Recreation Director Scott Caron says the first Parks Master Plan was laid out in 2005, the second in 2015 and the next one is about to begin.

“We’re looking to update that once again. It’s proven to be very successful. We’ve implemented nearly every item that our community has requested for us to take a look at,” Caron said.

He said the city wants to know the public’s priorities so they can move forward, but the biggest part is:

“In order to be eligible for grants through Texas Parks and Wildlife you have to have a current parks master plan,” Caron said.

Caron says The Longview Arboretum trail was funded by a 200-thousand-dollar grant and The Green received 400-thousand dollars, all from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

“$600,000 over the past five years for projects here in Longview. They were awarded because we had a Parks Master Plan,” Caron said.

Caron adds TxDOT awarded a three million dollar grant to go towards the nearly complete ten-mile trail system. Kathy Livingston is part of a home-schooling group, and they visit a Longview park at least once a week.

“Well, we’ve really appreciated the new pavilion here at Lois Jackson and the shade on the playground. And we’re so glad they put swings back in when they replaced the playground equipment because the kids love the swings better than anything else,” Livingston said.

She has a suggestion.

“And it would be great to see some new trees come in so that the natural shade can come back,” Livingston said.

To coordinate gathering ideas like that the city plans to hire a consultant.

“They have the expertise in that, in compiling that information and be able to present it to us and do it in a much quicker manner than if it was just the staff doing that alone,” Caron said.

Caron says information would likely be gathered at public events, online, by phone, and through public meetings.

“And part of that is people sometimes feel more comfortable talking to others about what they feel is important and needed rather than us ourselves,” Caron said.

Caron says the last plan took about two years to complete and grants previously awarded far outweighed the cost of that consultant.

Caron says the city has taken five bids on a consultant to gather information for the master plan. He says that should go before city council this month.