Council member Paul Gray complained a bit about the environmentally-friendly building designs. Vice Mayor Jim Skelton balked at the potentially huge price tag.
Otherwise, council members Tuesday mostly voice support for an ambitious plan to turn about 420 acres of vacant city land into a sprawling park with a 215 acre lake. The plan is pretty complex. It involves a Cornejo & Sons-affiliated company mining tons of sand out to build the lake and extensive landscaping with the leftover top soil. Then it would be up to the city council to approve funding for roads, about 14 miles of trails, several large buildings, a cable system that tows waterskiers and wakeboarders and a swimming beach. Parks and Recreation Director Doug Kupper said it could cost $60 million to $100 million, depending on when things are built and how many donations/sponsorships they can secure from corporate partners.
(See conceptual renderings of the park.)
Mayor Carl Brewer and council members Janet Miller and Jeff Longwell gave the plan glowing remarks and support. All acknowledged the plan would probably have to happen in phases. Gray also said he likes the idea — despite the “grandiose” building designs. “I really do like this plan,” he said.
The park would be right next to the closed Brooks Landfill. Kupper said the city, state and consultants have done extensive research and found the landfill poses no environmental threat to the park plan.