A few Friends of Patterson Park met with Marcus Primm, the Program Manager for the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Partnering Program (NPP) on April 25th to discuss the next community priorities identified in our neighborhood park plan and how they might fit with NPP’s mission.
For reference, the full set of community priorities in our park plan is the following:
1. Playground improvements
2. Pool improvements
3. Bathroom improvements
5. Trail improvements
6. Tree plantings
7. Shade Structures
8. Athletic field/court improvements
9. Skate ramp improvements
11. Fitness Equipment
Friends of Patterson Park recently submitted a grant application to Austin Parks Foundation to fund a project that would fulfill the playground improvements priority. There are significant pool improvements slated for Patterson in the Aquatic Master Plan completed by PARD in 2017, but no funds allocated so far. Bathroom improvements (remodeling or, more likely, new construction) would fall to PARD as they require bond funds.
Priority #4 is amenities/furnishings. Potential projects include adding new seating and grills, replacing the remaining decades-old trash cans, and adding a limited number of picnic tables.
Priority #5 is trail improvements, and potential projects include lighting, trail markers, signage. Since PARD recently reconditioned our granite trails and added the two segments we had requested (from the roundabout to Schieffer Ave. and Airport Blvd.), and both APF and PARD have suggested waiting to see how new solar lights that will be installed soon at other Austin parks work out, these two priorities could easily be rolled together into one grant.
Mr. Primm described the Neighborhood Partnering Program as helping Austin residents carry out improvement projects in the city’s right of way or on city-owned land. Park improvements are among the major categories of work that they do. The main details were:
* projects fall into two categories, under 150K and over 150K
* projects under 150K require a 30% cost share by the applicants in either funds or volunteer hours
* NPP collects bids and selects contractors for the project
* grant application deadlines are June 1 and October 1
* a high percentage of applicants are funded, and those that are not are assisted in strengthening their proposals for the next funding cycle.
Our group was encouraged to go big and roll in the next priorities, shade structure and improvements to the athletic courts and fields. However, this is more complex because we have no consensus yet on a multi-use field, so it may make the most sense to start with a smaller project this summer while we work out what it is we want in terms of improvements to the athletic fields. We could plan to apply for a second, bigger grant in October that could include some or all of the following projects
1) resurfacing and shading the basketball court
2) improvements to the baseball field
3) improvements to the volleyball court
4) a multi-use field in some configuration
The next steps are identifying what furnishings need to be updated, where additional pieces would useful, and what kind of markers and signage would be most helpful. PARD has already replaced most of the ancient pebble-covered trash cans and rusty green picnic tables, so we probably only need a few more grills and trash cans, some seating along the path, and 2-3 picnic tables by amenities like the sculpture and volleyball court.