TribBlog: A Renaissance for State Parks
As one of 40 parks across Texas benefiting from renovation projects, Bastrop State Park will spend about $4 million on improvements financed by the sale of voter-approved bonds authorized by the Texas Legislature. By April 2011, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department expects to complete $44 million in repairs and renovations to state park infrastructure.
As one of more than 40 parks across Texas benefiting from renovation projects, Bastrop State Park will spend about $4 million on improvements financed by the sale of voter-approved bonds authorized by the Texas Legislature. By April 2011, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department expects to complete $44 million in repairs and renovations to state park infrastructure.
Bastrop State Park Superintendent Todd McClanahan detailed the Bastrop park renovations during a briefing this morning. The park already has completed some renovations, including connecting the park to Bastrop’s water system, updating the electrical system for golf course facilities and replacing the roof of the maintenance building and sign shop. Upcoming projects in 2011 include replacing the roofs of six cabins and the refectory, replacing two public restroom facilities and fixing leaks in the swimming pool. All of the buildings under renovation will be brought up to the Americans With Disabilities Act standards. “This is to get us up to the 1992 standard,” McClanahan said. “We’re pretty far behind.”
McClanahan spoke in the refectory, one of the Texas Historic Landmarks in the park that will undergo renovations. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the refectory, cabins, swimming pool and other buildings by hand in the 1930s. In 1997, the Texas Historic Commission deemed the buildings landmarks. “When you look at restoring a historic structure, you can’t just flip through the yellow pages,” McClanahan said. “It’s a restoration project. The minutiae and detail that goes into that to make sure you’re returning the integrity of the building — it has to be done the right way.”
With ferns growing through the ceiling, the 19th Green Golf Pro Shop is also slated for repairs. “We tried to get mowers up there,” McClanahan said. “I’m afraid if we pull that off, it’s going to create a hole.” Instead of using mowers, the money for renovations will provide the building with a new roof as well as new siding, windows and handicap-accessible restrooms.
Repairs to the swimming pool, also built in the 1930’s, will help conserve water. This summer the park used two hoses to pour 8,500 gallons of water a day into the pool to compensate for water lost through leaks.
About 160,000 visitors a year come through Bastrop State Park. McClanahan estimated that people whose primary intention is to visit all state parks bring in $793 million in sales to nearby communities and said that money creates nearly 12,000 full-time jobs. Bastrop's park, he said, "is an icon in this area, but many people don’t know what an economic engine it is.”
[Editor's note: This blog post has been updated to correct the number of state parks in line for renovations, the status of completed renovations, and a mischaracterization of reported economic impact of visitors to state parks.]
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