For the first time since Hurricane Harvey, the Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee focused on issues other than flood recovery at its May 3 meeting. Instead it was dominated by issues related to KSA’s leased athletic fields.
A complaint and question of public access to KSA athletic fields was raised in public comments at the start of the meeting. A resident complained about not being able to use the fields when they were not in use by athletic organizations. She explained that her adult son and friends like to play “pickup” games on Wednesday evenings on one of the Texas Heatwave soccer fields located in Deer Ridge Park. However, her son and his friends have been asked to leave the fields as they are not open to the public.
“I know it says 'Heatwave' and 'Private Property' but why can’t they play there?” she asked, pointing out that she is a Kingwood resident. Both Parks Committee Chairwoman Dee Price and Texas Heatwave’s Charlie Childs explained why it was not permitted. Price said the fields are maintained in all of the KSA parks by leasing the land out to the various athletic organizations that use them. The Parks Committee does not maintain them nor does it control them per the lease agreements.
Childs, representing Texas Heatwave and speaking on behalf of all of the athletic groups, said, “The sports teams and the horsemen’s association are the ones that actually built the facilities and maintain the fields so there is no KSA money that goes into the fields or the lights or the sprinklers that are on the fields themselves. Part of the agreement is those facilities are only for the use of the particular group that has leased it.”
He noted that a primary reason for that arrangement is due to insurance requirements. “We have insurance requirements that cover our kids under our insurance policy that meets KSA requirements. Other groups playing on those fields do not have the required coverage,” Childs said. He suggested that there were fields located at nearby public middle schools and elementary school playgrounds where “pickup” games are being played on a regular basis.
Bob Rehak, of Kings Forest, suggested that the KSA-owned meadow and open-field area located in East End Park was also a possible location to play “pickup” games. The resident thanked the committee for its suggestions.
The rest of the meeting was spent dealing with other sports field issues. Childs provided a detailed proposal for approval by the committee for Texas Heatwave to replace its field lighting system at Deer Ridge Park. He said, “What we are looking at is replacing the lights, poles, the electrical and all the circuits. It is more of a safety thing. They need to be replaced and then run the electrical underground instead of having the cable up above.”
The project will replace five wooden poles with four lights each with four concrete poles 60 feet high with five lights each. The committee unanimously approved the project.
Bruce Casto reported on behalf of John Kaskie that the adult softball group has received its new bleachers and will replace the old bleachers at Northpark Recreation Area as soon as Kaskie returns from travel out of town.
Rodney Willis updated the committee on the Kingwood Horsemen’s Association’s stables at Deer Ridge Park. He announced the stables were now at full capacity and association members had just completed their annual spring workday which had been repeatedly postponed due to weather. “Right now I don’t think it could be any better,” he said.
Price introduced a problem requiring immediate action at the River Grove Soccer Fields north parking lot. The drainage culvert that runs under the parking lot began to collapse in early April, creating a large, dangerous and expanding hole in the roadway. The metal pipe is at least 15 years old, is rotting and is 150 feet in length. Price noted that because of the immediate danger she advised the KSA Board of Directors at its April quarterly meeting. They appropriated $67,000 from KSA’s Capital Assets Reserve Fund to enable an immediate request for bids to make repairs. Four companies were contacted and two responded with bids. One bid was substantially lower than the other. Price recommended approval of the lower bid of $33,000 from Wadecon LLC, a relatively new construction company located in Kingwood. She said,“They are $20,000 apart. The lower bid is from a newer company we have not dealt with before.” Price noted that, based on the project list provided by the company, it does a lot of similar work for Harris County, other cities and homeowners associations. The committee approved the bid and work is expected to begin as soon as possible.
The next KSA Parks meeting will be Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room, 2030 Shadow Rock Dr. in Kingwood. The public is invited to attend.