CHRIS DUQUE — Nederland outlines numerous parks improvements, available COVID grants

Published 12:22 am Saturday, March 5, 2022

2022 is progressing quickly; we have reached the month of March. (It’s not too early to start your holiday shopping – shop local and shop often!)

While we have experienced a mild winter, we will be entering Spring soon, and recreation, exercise and quality of life will be on everyone’s radar.

PARK IMPROVEMENTS

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At 5th Street Park, the City removed the old metal climber and swing sets; both exceeded their lifespan. At the Feb. 28 City Council meeting, new playground equipment was ordered (approx. $52,000).

The new equipment includes a new swing set that will include an inclusive seat and a 14’ climb feature. The order also includes placement of the “fall zone” material for the two features.

Unfortunately, due to the supply chain issues, the delivery and installation of the new equipment is 18-22 weeks away.

At the Babe Ruth league facility, a new concrete parking lot has been installed. The Babe Ruth League and Adaptive Sports for Kids share this facility.

The City became aware of the difficulty handicapped and disabled individuals were having with the old gravel parking lot.

Adaptive Sports for Kids is also making upgrades to several amenities. This month, a local Eagle Scout will be completing his Eagle Scout project at this facility.

At Cropo Le Blanc Park, the City is finalizing plans to construct a half-court basketball court. Over ten years ago, the City removed the outdoor basketball goals at Doornbos Park due to complaints and issues impacting other individuals and families attempting to enjoy the Park.

Last year, citizens approached the City’s Parks Advisory Board requesting outdoor basketball goals for their children to use. The half-court basketball court project does not include lighting.

Other pending projects are the installation of a new playground at Doornbos Park. This new playground will be installed near the old sand volleyball court.

Funds were allocated for the project in this year’s budget. Also, the Parks staff is working with an electrical company to troubleshoot the issues with the tennis court lights; this is being done while plans are being finalized to resurface the tennis court.

In addition, repairs will be made to the driveways and parking lots at Doornbos Park. Funds are also allocated to resurface the deck at the Nederland Swimming Pool; this work will start after the pool season ends in September.

At Tex Ritter Park, staff is waiting for plans to repair the electrical loop and will make landscaping improvements after the electrical work is complete.

Long-term, the City is beginning the process of identifying the structural issues at the Doornbos Park pond. The brick sides of the pond are collapsing. The project engineer will examine the cause of this collapse and the recommended repair, address the drainage component of the pond, assess the depth of the pond, etc.

Efforts will be made to minimize impacts to the ecosystem at the pond.

Many of these park projects have been guided by the City’s Parks Advisory Board. This Board meets once a month to discuss the City’s park system and to hear concerns or recommendations from the public, such as the citizens who advocated for outdoor basketball.

Recently, a resident attended a Board meeting to discuss adding a disc golf course at one of the City parks.

In three months, the City staff will be working on the new budget for fiscal year 2022-23.

Citizens interested in addressing the Parks Advisory Board in regard to amenities they would like to see added or improved, please contact the Parks Director at (409) 724-0773.

NON-PROFIT PARTNERSHIP GRANT PROGRAM

The City has held two public hearings to discuss the City’s Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund allocation of $4,304,289.72.

The American Rescue Plan specifies the funding may be spent for the following purposed:

1) To respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;

2) To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the State, territory, or tribal government that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work;

3) For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction of revenue of such State, territory, or Tribal government due to the COVID-19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the State, territory, or tribal government prior to the emergency;

4)To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.

The City Council has authorized the first program — the City of Nederland Non-Profit Partnership Grant Program. A non-profit may be eligible if it can demonstrate decreased revenue, financial insecurity, increased costs, capacity to weather financial hardship, and/or challenges covering payroll, rent, or mortgage and other operating costs.

This Program will also be available for non-profits providing specific services to the community (including economic development, emergency food assistance, public health, mental health support, family violence and child abuse prevention, services and support for victims, after-school programs for kids, technology access, residential assistance programs for seniors, food preparation and delivery services to people in need, job training and placement, revenue replacement, shelter/prevention of homelessness, and long-term care).

A Notice of Intent to Participate form is the first step in this process; non-profit organizations must submit this by March 18.

The complete application will be released after the March 28 City Council meeting.

We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable time at this year’s Nederland Heritage Festival. The NHF director, board, and volunteers do an amazing job hosting this event for the community.

And thank you to the City employees (police officers, firefighters, public works employees, etc.) who work to make the event a success as well.

If there are any questions regarding City operations, please contact the City Manager’s Office at (409) 723-1503.

Chris Duque is city manager for Nederland. He can be reached at CDuque@ci.nederland.tx.us.