The cash-strapped Texas Department of Transportation’s plans to close roadside parks and picnic areas — including two in Somervell County — led commissioners to consider whether to take over the parks’ maintenance and keep them open.

The picnic area north of town along State Highway 144 and one east of town on U.S. Highway 67 are among those targeted for retirement. Travelers not only stop there, but so do people who use the sites as a dump for their household garbage.

The county either could take over mowing and garbage collection at the parks or “discuss a partnership or enter into a maintenance agreement,” TxDoT told the county in a letter.

None of the commissioners, however, wanted to get into an agreement with TxDoT.

People who live around the parks also have complained they are a gathering place for “undesirable activities,” County Judge Mike Ford said.

“It has become a place to meet,” said Derrell McCravey, chief deputy of the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department. “We can’t be on top of that 24/7.”

TxDoT told the county it wanted a response about the parks by the end of January. Ford said he would proceed with talking with TxDoT to see what the county might work out with the state agency.

In other business, commissioners appointed Billie and Eddie Flanary to the County Historical Commission.