Glen Rose City Council members held a special meeting May 26 to award Phase I of the Riverwalk project to a general contractor.

After reviewing bids from five contractors and receiving a recommendation from the Riverwalk Committee, the council voted to award Jay Mills Contracting, Inc., the contract for $467,064.75.

At the council meeting, Margaret Drake said a bridge would be placed across the first wash and a looped pathway inside Heritage Park would connect the park to the Riverwalk with the Somervell County Commissioner’s Court approval, which the court approved on June 1.

A boardwalk will also be installed beginning at the boat launch, extending 200 feet down the Riverwalk.

Drake said four benches would also be added at various locations along the path.

Sue Oldenburg suggested that dispensers for plastic bags be put in along the Riverwalk to allow pet owners an easy way to clean up after their pets and to help keep the walkway clean and enjoyable.

Drake added that the committee would meet with Mills to discuss ways for volunteers to help pitch in on the project during construction, namely embellishing the concrete portion of the walkway.

City council members also liked the idea of establishing a Web site linked to the city’s site, www.cityofglenrose.com, to help residents keep tabs on the project and construction updates.

City Secretary Peggy Busch recommended linking the site to the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) site, www.glenrosetexas.net, since their site receives more hits.

The CVB Web page is already linked to the city’s Web site at the bottom of the page.

Mills is expected to begin working on the project within the next two weeks and should have it completed by mid-September.

The council approved a pedestrian access easement on property owned by Helen Kerwin as well.

Kerwin’s property runs along the Paluxy River near Big Rocks Park and would also run adjacent to the Riverwalk.

Michael Kuykendall from the TML-Intergovernmental Risk Pool addressed the council via e-mail stating that a “hold harmless” clause in the agreement would protect Kerwin from any damages related to the easement.

In a separate 4-B Tax Advisory Board meeting on June 1, the first public hearing on the purchase and renovation of Oakdale Park was held.

Glen Rose Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Billy Huckaby said to lose Oakdale would be a tragedy.

“Tourism in Glen Rose is a 17 million-dollar a year industry,” Huckaby said.

That goes up to approximately $32 million when peripheral dollars are factored in, such as gas and groceries.

Huckaby said that nearby Texas towns similar in size to Glen Rose bring anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500 per resident in 4-B tax money, whereas Glen Rose brings $8,000.

An attraction like Oakdale is perfect for family reunions, small festivals and additional RV and tent camping sites.

Huckaby said they should focus on event facilities such as pavilions and the stage area. Plus, because of the nature of Oakdale, CVB monies could go to help cover maintenance and operation costs of the park.

Daniel Harrison of Freese and Nichols has been helping to create the vision and master plan of future Glen Rose.

He said the preservation of Oakdale fits into the overall vision and desire for natural open spaces in the town. The park would be right in the middle of the proposed Paluxy River District, an area zoned along the Paluxy River that would include mixed-use land space, such as residential areas, retail and tourist attractions and parks. But his partner, Dan Sefko, strongly encouraged a feasibility study be done before the purchase of the park.

Board member and councilman Ricky Villa said he has an appointment on June 10 with someone who will tour the park and see if he can complete the study before the deadline.

The board also announced that Glenn Wilson had resigned his position from the board and they will search for his replacement.

An Oakdale Concept Planning Committee is also being formed to help steer the project.