The Kingwood Parks Committee members announced final recommendations for planned changes to River Grove Park, Deer Ridge Park and the North Park Recreation Area last week. The plans received positive reactions from committee members and attendees. In the final of four public meetings in the master plan process, residents saw designs for each of the three multi-use parks presented by Knudson LLC, the architectural firm creating the master plan. Major recommendations called for include: • Consolidating and expanding field sports (soccer, rugby, lacrosse, flag football) at River Grove • Expanding softball at North Park • Revising the layout of Deer Ridge to expand the space available for horses and baseball, while adding a jogging trail and picnic areas • Upgrading lighting, irrigation, restrooms, parking, and concession stands at all parks • Reforesting many areas “Most everyone comes out a winner in this plan,” said Bob Rehak, KSA vice president and a member of the master plan subcommittee. “By making better use of existing space, we can expand activities while reducing maintenance and operating costs.” The recommendations evolved during the summer as a result of public input sessions and comments solicited through the master plan Web site, KingwoodParks.com. The site received more than 38,000 visitors since it launched in July. “Hundreds of people gave us input through meetings or via the Web site,” said Rehak. “As the plans evolved, we found we could accommodate most wishes, though not necessarily to the degree that everyone wanted. We won’t be able to make everyone happy with the limited amount of land we have, but I am confident that we’re doing the best job possible to balance the needs of the community.” Parks Committee members have been attempting to upgrade park infrastructure so that it can accommodate the next generation of Kingwood residents. The process began a year ago when 10.8 acres of land were donated to KSA at the south end of River Grove Park. The final design for River Grove Park provides 660 additional parking spaces and seven more fields for field sports. Also included in the design are a new restroom and concessions building, a playground, and a second walkway from the parking area to the fields. The old restroom near the parking area will be updated and expanded. As much natural area will be left intact as possible and more trees will be planted around the fields and newly developed areas. The boat ramp and parking will be left as is. The final design for North Park has changed little since the first design. The park will be the softball park, containing two ball field quads, each with a separate restroom and concession buildings, and two playgrounds, a walking trail and many new plantings and reforestation. The amount of parking at the park remains essentially the same, with additional parking available at the high school. The final design for Deer Ridge Park, the most-contested park, keeps the equestrian area but relocates it at the south end, giving riders 25 percent more land than they currently use. The area where the stables are currently located is the only area that could accommodate the large fields in a quad-configuration that baseball needs. The parks tennis and basketball courts remain and will be renovated, and the duck pond will be enhanced by picnic pavilions and fountains. Pedestrian crossings and speed bumps along the roadway will enhance the safety and usability of the park. Both Deer Ridge and River Grove parks will have a walking trail that connects each park to the other. In addition to all of these additions and enhancements, at least one field at each park would be available for general use by the public. Residents could either reserve a field in advance using an online reservation system or simply walk on and play if a public field were available. For more information, visit kingwoodparks.com. Photos: The final design for each park. River Grove Park provides more fields and parking for players and families. North Park shows the park being the softball park with two ball field quads.

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