Building dog park to follow

At its first 2018 meeting on Jan. 4, the Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee assessed the recovery from Hurricane Harvey, announced the reopening of River Grove Park at the end of January and made the decision to move forward with development of a dog park.

The dog park, if approved by the KSA Board of Directors in April, will be located within River Grove Park.

All KSA parks closed or damaged by Hurricane Harvey are now open with the exception of River Grove Park. The open parks include Creekwood Nature Park, Deer Ridge Park, Northpark Recreation Area and East End Park. Maryanne Fortson, park steward for East End Park, reported that although East End is open, there is still work to be done. Restoration of several trails is still underway and some of the boardwalks in the lower areas still need to be repaired or filled in, which will be done as soon as possible.

Dee Price, steward for River Grove Park, reported that the heavy work of sand removal and clearing of the park area was complete but there still remain a number of major open items to be completed before reopening. She said, “The sand (in the parking lot area) has been removed from the park. It ended up being 364 truckloads costing us $28,392. We were able to give the Kingwood Horsemen’s Association some of the sand they had wanted.”

Price went through the repair projects line by line, pointing out the progress that had been made. She described the work still to be completed.

“We still need to repair the soccer bridge. A railing around the bulkhead is missing so it is definitely a safety hazard. Also some of the park’s boardwalk railings are damaged and need to be fixed. We are going to have the playground equipment checked to be sure it is all in good shape. Once that is done, we will replenish the mulch and sand that has been dug out to check the equipment. Everything that needed to be pressure washed has been pressure washed,” Price said.

She pointed out that the restrooms have all been cleaned and are usable, but the building’s ceiling still needs to be replaced. The park playground and open areas that have remained muddy during the cleanup process will have sod laid out in the areas where the sun can get to it. Other areas will be hydro mulched. The last thing that will be done will be to use a street sweeping machine to sweep clean all of the parking areas and roadways. Once the street sweeping is complete it will likely need to be restriped, Price said.

“Right now we anticipate all of this will be done by the end of January when the park will be reopened,” she said.

The committee addressed its unresolved question from 2017, that of building a dog park within Kingwood for use by Kingwood residents to walk and exercise their dogs. Because of the hurricane and recovery efforts, the decision to go forward to seek KSA Board of Directors approval was delayed into 2018.

Bob Rehak of Kings Forest, who has shepherded the project from inception, pointed out that the site selection, development of specifications, and receiving public input was complete. Overall consensus at the time of the delay was to move forward with the project. Price pointed out that the committee was now at the point where it needed to either stop the process or go forward with the next step of putting it out for bid. She explained that the dog park requires Parks Improvement Funding which must be specifically approved by the KSA Board of Directors. Formal bids to validate the costs of the project are needed in order to gain approval.

The committee elected to proceed with finalizing the specifications in January and putting the project out for bid as soon as River Grove Park is reopened. Once the park is open in February, potential bidders can walk through and evaluate the proposed area within River Grove in order to develop their bids. The location within the park is just across the road from the public restrooms. The committee will review the submitted bids at its March meeting with the objective of submitting a recommendation proceed at the KSA Board of Directors meeting on April 19.

The next KSA Parks meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room, 2030 Shadow Rock Dr. The public is invited to attend.

Bruce Olson
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.