Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day. She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.
A crowd of about 60 people gathered at 6:00 p.m. on January 23, 2017, at Grace Community Church in Flour Bluff to listen to Stacie Talbert Anaya, Director of Parks and Recreation, describe what her department does city-wide and what is planned for parks in Flour Bluff. Dr. Lloyd Stegemann, FBCC Chairman of the FB Parks and Recreation Committee and newly-appointed member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee for Corpus Christi introduced Ms. Anaya to the audience, pointing out that she lives and works by the motto “The world needs play.”
Ms. Anaya told the citizens council that Parker Park is being upgraded as part of a 2012 voter-approved bond. New walking paths, lighting for the tennis and basketball courts, improvements to the covered picnic area, and new playground facilities are just part of the plan. A plan for planting more trees is also in the works. Parker Pool, which is no longer managed by the city, is not part of the renovation project. The community was encouraged to assist the Parker Pool Patriots in keeping the pool functional. (To donate to the cause, visit their website.)
Plans for an extension of the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve and Learning Center, a 162-acre nature preserve accessible by using the walk-in entrances along N. Oso Parkway and from the Holly hike and bike trail, sits just across the Oso from Flour Bluff. Anaya said that she and her group are working on making the park accessible to the Flour Bluff community via a hike and bike trail across the existing railway bridge. She said that the plan includes the walkway, fishing spots along the bridge, and perhaps even a trail head parking area at the corner of Flour Bluff Drive and Division Road, a property purchased two years ago by the city to build a citizens collections center, a facility opposed by those who live and own businesses closest to the area. Anaya’s idea for the property received many nods from the crowd who also want to see the property used for a more family-friendly space.
Anaya also discussed how the Community Enrichment Fund dollars (funds received from developer fees, other donations and interest earned in the Community Enrichment Fund) are used. The Unified Development Code (UDC), requires that the fees be used for the acquisition or improvement of parks most likely to serve the residents of the subdivision. Community Enrichment Funds shall be used only for parkland acquisition, park development and park improvements including utility extensions required to serve recreational areas. The last appropriation of Community Enrichment Funds was approved by City Council on July 19, 2016. The next appropriation will be made following approval at the January 24, 2017, council meeting.
Adding to the discussion of parks and recreational areas in Flour Bluff was community activist and former president of the Flour Bluff Business Association, Melanie Hambrick, who outlined the plans for Redhead Pond (an area purchased to protect freshwater wetland habitat for wintering waterfowl and other birds). Redhead Pond offers a unique opportunity to view large concentrations of wild birds on Laguna Shores Road in Flour Bluff. Ms. Hambrick has long wanted to work with Texas Parks and Wildlife to make this a place for families and visitors to enjoy. (To volunteer for the Redhead Pond Project, contact Melanie Hambrick at 361-728-7393 or email@example.com.)
Joining the FBCC members at the January 23, 2017, general meeting were City Manager Margie Rose, At-large Council Members Paulette Guajardo and Michael Hunter, District 4 Councilman Greg Smith, and Gaye White of Todd Hunter’s office. Pastor Jess Cole of Grace Community Church offers the church for the FBCC meetings, of which the group is very appreciative.
As an added bonus, Better in the Bluff t-shirts were raffled to the members in attendance. Anyone who wishes to purchase a shirt at a cost of $16 ($4 goes to the FBCC for each sale) may visit Caption Tees by following this link.
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