An adjustment to the parkland dedication fees and what those fees provide to the community was presented this week at the Weatherford city council meeting.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Special Events Shannon Goodman said the department recently conducted a 13-city comparison to find out where Weatherford fell with its current $525 dedication fee. The fee is imposed on residential development and used for acquisition and development of new community parks and existing park facilities intended for access and use by the entire community.
Through the comparison it was discovered that the city was on the low end of the scale and, based on a formula, came out with a rate of $1,164 for single family and $947 for multifamily.
“The standard out there is 2.8 per household on a single family and then on the multifamily it’s a little lower at 2.28 and so that’s why you see a difference in those rates. We felt like it was a little more fair to our developers and those numbers differ based on persons per household,” Goodman said. “What we did was project out to where there are future potentials for park development to take place. So those are the areas that when developers come in, we use this as a tool to look at where they’re developing and if it falls within those circles, we want to sit down and talk about the land requirement of that portion of that park dedication fee.”
Goodman added that if there’s a viable piece of land that would either be green space, a trail corridor or some type of recreational activity park that could be created within, a deduction of up to 50% off the total park fee may be permissible.
“We currently are working with a developer that’s willing to donate land and pay for the amenities to go in so we’ve waived the entire fee in order to get that established,” Goodman said. “The amenities are equal to almost $300,000, so we’re using these tools now to be able to help us grow our parks system and quality of life that we want to keep enriching for our community.”
The fees then go back into the parks system for new development or the addition of amenities at current recreation areas in the city.
“There’s not too many people in the city that can get budgets cut down like [Goodman],” Place 4 Councilmember Kevin Cleveland said. “I watch his numbers when he builds stuff and he holds contractors’ feet to the fire — he gets some good numbers, so he deserves a lot of props for that.”
Over the past four years the parkland dedication fees have gone to:
• Assisting in the finished product of Veterans Memorial Park, 2017;
• Assisting with resurfacing of the tennis courts at Soldier Spring Park, 2018;
• The renovation of Marshall Park, 2018;
• The addition of two pavilions and a walking pathway to Friendship Playground at Heritage Park, 2019;
• The replacement of backstop fencing at Holland Sports Fields, 2019;
• The renovation of Vine Street Park, 2019;
• Installation of a new play structure at Soldier Spring Park, 2019;
• The addition of fencing to the amphitheater area at Heritage Park, 2020;
• The addition of a restroom at Marshall Park, 2020;
• And providing lighting for the horseshoe pits at Love Street Park.
“Our next steps in this, working with neighborhood services, is they’ll present this back to planning and zoning because it would be a subdivision ordinance change and then we’ll do a public hearing,” Goodman said.
Weatherford City Manager James Hotopp said the city has first-class professional staff that have spent a lot of time over the past 10 to 15 years developing the quality of life amenities.
“One thing to kind of bring to everyone’s attention is that’s one of the things that’s helped everyone kind of keep their sanity as we’ve gone through this current pandemic, you’ve noticed an increased use of those recreational amenities that are out there,” he said. “Weatherford has been and will continue to be the recreational quality of life leader within Parker County, within the region, and that’s done by efforts just like this by Shannon and his staff and people that have come before him.”