The Glen Rose City Council Monday night heard details of the proposed plan to renovate historic Oakdale Park, including a pricetag of $1 million for pad sites, services and roads to accommodate large recreational vehicles.
Preservationists raised questions about the plan and said they hoped more attention would be focused on preserving the vintage feel of the park. After the meeting they hatched plans to form a “Friends of Oakdale Park” group to provide information about preservation and to volunteer and act as possible docents.
Park planner Bud Surles presented the council with his design for the placement of RV sites, the movement of the old white cottages and playground and a scheme to improve the flow of traffic around the park and security for the big rigs.
His design reduces the number of RV sites from 262 to 100 but “enhances the quality” with larger spaces so big RVs can navigate more easily.
The plan is designed for security, easy mobility for large RVs and to “enable all people to come and enjoy the park project,” Surles said.
Council members generally liked the plan, but raised concerns about the amount of parking spaces and amenities for the community.
Councilman Ricky Villa questioned whether a skateboard or basketball area could be included.
“This would make an awesome RV park,” Villa said. “But what are citizens from Glen Rose going to get for it?”
Billy Huckaby, executive director of the Glen Rose Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the plan ties Oakdale to Big Rocks Park, Heritage Park, the River Walk and downtown with additional parking. But he added that it also tries to “protect the historic integrity” of the park.
“We've got something that is very, very unique,” Huckaby said. “These kinds of places don't exist anymore. This is a chance to get back to what Glen Rose was — a place to rest and relax and enjoy nature.
“We've got a multi-use facility and we're not going to satisfy everybody,” he added. “If you try to put everything on that property, it's going to be helter-skelter.”
But Preservation Board member Karen Richardson said that she didn't see enough historical preservation in the plan.
“What we have is a historic structure,” she said. “What we're seeing being presented is a modern RV park. That's on a whole different scale. To me the historical integrity of the park will be severely compromised by trying to make it an RV park.”
Huckaby said the city is going to “maintain the integrity as best we can.” But he reiterated that the park needs RV sites to attract large festivals and parking to handle people coming to the park. Surles added that reducing the number of RV spaces, “you have greatly reduced the impact on the land.”
Preservationists also questioned the cost of accommodating the very large and expensive RVs. Surles said that developing an RV pad costs anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000. That, and the amount of square feet of pavement, will bring the cost to more than $1 million, Surles said.
“These rigs aren't light,” he said. “They've got to have a good road base to travel on.”
The council decided to table any decision on the agreement and to follow Councilman Bob Stricklin's suggestion to set up a Saturday meeting to take citizen comments about the proposed Oakdale Park plan.