The 4-B Tax Advisory Board heard an update on restoration efforts at Oakdale Park that appeared to allay some members’ frustrations that they weren’t receiving enough information about plans for the historic property.
Billy Huckaby, executive director of the Glen Rose Convention & Visitors Bureau, distributed a plan of the property prepared by designer Bud Surles, who has worked for the National Park Service. The drawing shows locations of roads, RV sites, cottages and an arts and crafts mall.
The plan will be presented to the Glen Rose City Council next week.
“We’ll also put it online so people can look at it,” Huckaby added.
Some members of the 4-B had expressed concerns at the last regular meeting that they didn’t know enough about what was going on at the park and about expenditures and what they were being used for. A special meeting was called for last Monday after the regular Glen Rose City Council meeting, but both meetings were canceled after the death of Mygnonne Thomas, the city’s longtime secretary, was announced.
“We should hear about that in August,” Huckaby said.
He also provided a list of Oakdale Park expenditures, which 4-B board members had wanted to see. It showed that about $250,000 has been spent so far — $37,405 on city salaries; $10,669 on consulting fees; $43,449 on contract labor and materials; $49,655 on furnishings and equipment; $44,134 materials; $22,931 on miscellaneous; $942 on phones; $25,669 on roofs, including labor and materials; and $15,399 for utilities.
About $700,000 remains of the total allotted for Oakdale Park improvements.
Huckaby also distributed a list of other suggested Oakdale improvements, including renovating the convention center, fencing the entire property, removing most of the existing RV spaces, repairing existing structures, developing a landscape plan, adding two meeting structures, renovating the pool and adding shade areas and some small waterpark features such as fountains, adding a new playground area with sand volleyball and basketball and developing a museum in the foyer or lobby of the convention center.
“Our goal is to cut back to 100 RV spaces,” Huckaby said.
Another goal is to move the existing six white cottages and use the area near the woodcarver’s shop for arts and crafts studios to be rented monthly.
“Part of this comes from a park he (Surles) developed in Arkansas,” Huckaby said. “The arts and crafts became bigger than the park itself.”
More parking also is needed, Huckaby said.
“Right now parking is a mess,” he said.
A parking lot for Oakdale Park and overflow parking for Big Rocks Park and Heritage Park would provide some “continuity” between all three, plus tie them to downtown, he said.
So far, four cabins and the park office have been completed. The former skating rink, which will be a venue for family reunions, receptions and community meetings, is about half finished.
“What kind of revenue are we seeing now?” member Mitchell George asked.
Last weekend the park drew in about $1,700, Huckaby said.
“I think once we get everything renovated and the pool is open, this will generate substantial revenues,” he added.
The pool needs relining, updating the filtration system and adding some water features such as a fountain.
Currently, the park is hiring part-time employees and needs lifeguards and concession workers. Anyone who is interested should contact Cindy King at 897-2321.
“I’m really glad you’re in charge of this and knew the long-term view and when people bring ideas to you, I hope you will listen to them,” board member Darrell Best said after the presentation.
“It’s going to be a win-win,” Huckaby said of the park’s renovation. When it’s completed, the community will get economic benefits as the park draws people to Glen Rose and to stay overnight, eat at restaurants and visit other attractions and shops, he added.
The park has received more than 100 phone calls about a bluegrass festival to be held there in October. Next month a three-day dulcimer festival will take place in Oakdale.
In other action, the 4-B board canceled plans to provide an $80,000 bridge loan for more RV spaces at the Somervell County Expo since the County Commissioners Court decided to fund engineering work on more spaces. The Expo said it needed more spaces to attract bigger shows where participants brought horse-trailers and RVs.