Unhappy Abilene nonprofit: Don't sell Kirby Park

Abilene non-profit unhappy about potential sale of Kirby Park

ABILENE, Texas - Members of a nonprofit group devoted to revitalizing Abilene's parks along Cedar Creek are unhappy about the potential sale of Kirby Park.

The city of Abilene recently received an offer for the park, which is located on Cedar Creek near the corner of South 14th and Treadaway Boulevard. City spokeswoman Callie Harris will not disclose who made the offer, but the offer caused the city to consider whether to put the park up for a bid.

Randy Barnett, spokesman for the Cedar Creek Waterway Development group, said the sale of Kirby Park could devastate efforts to revitalize that area of Cedar Creek.

"We don't have enough green space and parks in Abilene right now as it is so we would hate to lose one," Barnett said. "We think it's a resoundingly bad idea."

The city's 10-year Parks Master Plan, which was unveiled in 2008, included updating Kirby Park and mentioned the possibility of creating a trail along Cedar Creek that would extend from Kirby Lake in South Abilene to Lake Fort Phantom in North Abilene.

"Kirby Park is integral to that plan," Barnett said. "It's right next to Cedar Creek."

Though the Cedar Creek Waterway Development group is a nonprofit that is not associated with the city, Barnett said he and other members hope to build a series of parks along Cedar Creek that would ideally be complete with water features, bike and hike trails and outdoor restaurants.

Barnett said they also plan to revitalize the creek.

"Cedar Creek over there is dry and kind of ugly right now but the potential is recycling water down Cedar Creek and we'd have flowing water," Barnett said. "This would be an oasis in the middle of Abilene."

The Cedar Creek Waterway Development group is still in the planning stages. Since the waterway plan is funded purely by donations, Barnett said it is difficult to commit to buying the park if the city does decide to put it up for a bid.

According to Director of Community Services James Childers, the Parks and Recreation Board will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to decide whether to recommend that city council sells the park. If city council approves the sale, voters could decide as early as May whether to go through with it.  

To learn more about the Cedar Creek Waterway Development group, visit their website www.cedarcreekwaterway.org. To donate funds or land to the cause, e-mail Randy Barnett at randallbarnett@yahoo.com

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