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Sandberg discusses Parks and Rec projects

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in News

From sports fields to the stalled renovations at Dow Park, new Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Sandberg provided an update on ongoing projects. He was the speaker at this week’s Deer Park Rotary Club luncheon meeting.

DowParkParks Director Charlie Sandberg spoke this week with the Deer Park Rotary Club on several parks improvement projects. He gave details on projects in the planning phases as well as renovations and improvements that are well underway. Photo by Andrew Pressley/Deer Park Photos.New Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Sandberg discussed ongoing parks projects with the Deer Park Rotary Club this week.

Sandberg, a long-time parks employee, was appointed to the position last month after serving as the interim director since the spring.

He said the parks department is busy with several projects, some of which are underway and others still in the planning phases.

“We’re in the first phase of our hike and bike trails. We’re trying to work with a federal grant through the transportation department,” he said. There is $200,000 in grant funding available for the project, however those funds are being held up.

“We’re putting some money in right now to start some projects, but we’ll see how it will come through,” he said. The completed project would include a comprehensive trail system connecting various parks throughout the city.

The city is also in Phase I of the Deer Park Nature Preserve, formerly known as the wetlands project. The city is in the process of removing Chinese tallow trees, an evasive species, before it can continue. Sandberg said the first phase will include building trails and a parking lot. Other plans for the preserve include classroom-like settings for the grasslands and wetlands areas of the space.

The preserve is located at East Boulevard and Thirteenth Street.

Sandberg also discussed the ongoing projects funded by the Type B sales tax. He said the projects are helping the parks and recreation department provide more programming options for the city’s residents.

Construction is almost complete for the Spencerview Athletic Complex, formerly known as the Durant Fields. He said the city and contractors are targeting Aug. 1 as the dedication date for the facility.

He also discussed the Dow Park Pavilions, which are two structures that will house a stage and picnic and gathering areas in the city’s largest green space. When complete, it will host the city’s Concerts in the Park summertime series, Movies in the Parks and will be available for rentals.

“There’s already a demand for it,” Sandberg said. “We have people and businesses who want to rent because of the amenities around the pavilion like the splash pad, the rose garden and sand volleyball courts.”

The project was halted for a few weeks as the city and contractors addressed conceptual problems with the pavilions, Sandberg said.

“It slowed the process down tremendously, but the project will still be within budget,” he said.

Sandberg said the project should be complete by the fall. According to a press release regarding the Dow Park project, as of early July, the restroom structures have been built offsite and are awaiting shipment to Dow Park. The site for the pavilions, which required additional time due to a change order addressing plan revisions, is also in progress.

As senior citizens become more active, the programs and space at the Maxwell Adult Center have had to adapt.

“We’re doing a lot of new rooms, providing more space and wanting to provide more programs,” he said. Sandberg credited citizen input through ad hoc committees for identifying the needs of groups that will use the facilities.

The city is also expects to open its new dedicated soccer facilities within a year. The soccer complex will be across Thirteenth Street from the nature preserve. It will have four lighted fields as well as two practice fields.

Sandberg also discussed the renovations to the girls softball fields on X Street. Previously, the complex shared its grounds and parking with soccer, which caused parking headaches for families and leagues using the fields.

“Soccer will have their own home and girls soccer will have their own home. The biggest measure that was important was to provide more parking. There was not enough parking. We think we are meeting some of those demands by providing some more parking and fields,” said Sandberg.

He said the parks and recreation department is also discussing renovating the Community Center to make its spaces more efficient and provide more programing.

As far as other current projects, Sandberg said the city is about to enter Phase II of its wayfinding sign program.

The parks and recreation department is also looking for community partners for park dedications, events and other services. For more information, contact the department as 281-478-2050.