Sunday, July 21, 2024

Faunt Le Roy walking trail could open in a few weeks, says interim city manager


Interim City Manager Brad Hunt provided an update on the status of the reopening of Faunt Le Roy Park at a regular city council meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

Although residents might need to wait awhile longer to use the entire park, Hunt said during his city manager’s report that the Gatesville Parks & Recreation department is in the process of clearing the walking trail for public use. He told the Messenger in an email that park crews “are hopeful” that the trail will open by July 9.

“They are cleaning up, they are mowing, cutting trees, and limbs, taking limbs out of the fence, (and) making sure all the electrics (are) good,” Hunt said. “They're going to rework the crushed granite on the walking trail, and then we'll put a barricade leading down to the loop right at that little narrow part where the creek or the river comes to. And then folks will be able to use the top half of Faunt Le Roy again in the next couple of weeks.”  

The city closed the park on May 5 after flood waters caused extensive damage to the park and the banks of the Leon River. Before the city reopens the rest of the property that includes the picnic tables, playground, and bathrooms, Faunt Le Roy will need to receive a professional assessment of the damage caused by flood events in the spring, and back in 2018.  

Hunt said the recent flooding has caused even more erosion to the already damaged riverbank.  

“There’s another 100 feet of bank now missing on the right side of that loop as you walk in, right where the bathrooms are,” he said. “There will not be able to be a road anymore on that side of that bathroom on the right. It is eroded all the way to underneath that road bend.”

The assessment will give the city an idea of how much it will cost to not only repair the damage, but also how they can make the park safer for recreational use and prevent future flooding.

“There’s a lot of opportunities out there, but the first thing we have to do is stop losing the peninsula,” Hunt said.

Currently, the city is reviewing proposals from two firms that are offering to provide the assessment. A decision to hire one of the firms will be presented to the city council at a future meeting.

Hunt adds that Parks & Recreation is also working to repair Brown Park, another area that experienced recent flooding.  

“It rose up to the level where it flooded a couple of houses – 32 feet I think (was) the depth, and then, two weeks later, it was at 28 feet again, coming right back up almost again,” Hunt said. “So, those banks have taken a lot, but we do have a plan so that Brown Park will be clean and safe to be in.”

Hunt said the riverbank now comes within about 8 feet of the road, and the city will place temporary barricades to keep people from driving onto the affected areas. However, like Faunt Le Roy Park, Brown Park might also one day need a professional assessment of the damaged riverbank.

“That’s a future consideration for another assessment – would be on Brown Park,” Hunt said. “To have professionals’ kind of tell us what it would take or what the situation is, but the road is still not affected.”