To advocate is to plead or argue in favor of something: a cause, an idea or a policy. Most importantly, advocacy is all about being an active supporter. Friends of Bachman Lake would not be in existence nor would we have been able to make much difference if it weren’t for the advocacy of our Park Board members. They understand the importance of parks in the health of a city and have been great partners of Friends of Bachman Lake over the years. Specifically, Tim Dickey, the Park Board representative for D6 was instrumental in the foundation of our friends group, bringing together members from a variety of neighborhoods to create the core team, many of whom are still participating three years later!
Just before summer vacation, Tim and Calvert Collins-Bratton (D13 Park Board Member) took time out of their busy schedules to meet with the Board of Friends of Bachman Lake. We wanted to learn if there were opportunities to improve our overall advocacy efforts, from addressing small maintenance items, to bigger issues, such as safe access to Bachman Lake.
The feedback on our work was positive and we walked away from the meeting knowing that the Park Board is there to help us achieve our goals. Here are the issues raised and the updates (in parantheses):
The park is large and there is a constant need for maintenance and security. We need help in closing out issues to increase positivity about the area:
Bathroom maintenance / cleanliness are a constant problem (both the permanent facility that is usually closed as well as the port-a-potties). We were informed that bathrooms are open, however port-a-potty maintenance on weekends is limited by the maintenance contract. This still needs to be addressed and we can help them help us by writing to our City Council reps for weekend maintenance.
Trash pick-up on the dam side and along the Greenbelt is lacking (Park Maintenance is addressing the issue with the contractor).
We need a bench at the pavilion playground. (This has been DONE!)
More trash cans / recycling bins are needed along the trail, especially the south side (work is in progress and 311s on this issue would help!).
The pavilion roof and gazebo roof need repair. (This has been DONE!)
Drinking and throwing trash in the parking lots, a problem day and night. The community appreciated when the lots were closed in the evenings. (Major update here is that we now have Rangers and Marshals patrolling the park on weekends! See their weekend report by the Rangers!)
Major items that cannot just be handled by the Maintenance team:
The abandonment of maintenance in the Bachman Greenbelt continues to be an issue and needs a focused plan from the City (we have our fingers crossed that we will see some progress this winter removing some of the privet and will be working with Councilperson Willis on a broader plan).
Completing the Bachman Trail at Webb Chapel Bridge (we have entered 3-1-1 requests and are submitting a proposal to Councilman Narvaez).
Removing asphalt from behind Whataburger and Walgreens in order to plant trees, another example of abandoned park land that can be restored.
We are very excited about the regional facilities but remain extremely worried about the lack of parking. Is there an update on what Parks is dong on this, from working with Transportation to get street parking and the appropriate signs, to purchasing land for parking? (There is apparently a plan but we could not get much more information than this).
Status on projects in progress:
The Regional Aquatic Center (should be done by November, but is still lacking parking or safe connection to DART)
The QT trailhead (still progressing, albeit at a snail's pace)
Skate Park (This is in the design phase)
A dog park (there is a moratorium on dog parks pending an analysis from zoning on where the next park investments should be made)