A Timbercrest neighborhood park has reopened to the public after renovations, and parks officials want to draw more people to the low-key fishing pond neighbors have enjoyed for years.
The yearlong $335,000 capital improvement project at Buena Vista Park, a small neighborhood park, included replacement of the playground and repaving of sidewalks to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Workers also planted trees and repaired fencing around the park, Parks and Recreation Director Jonathan Cook said during a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting last week.
“It’s one of our hidden, secret parks,” Cook said.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stocks the pond with catfish and rainbow trout throughout the year. Cook said the parks department is planning a ribbon cutting and fishing derby for June 4, to coincide with Free Fishing Day. Anyone can fish without a license on the first Saturday in June, according to state law.
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Cook said the derby has been slated for 10 a.m.
“Throughout the years we’ve done things like fishing derbies for kids, but a lot of people go out there and just do some casual fishing this time of year,” Cook said.
The Garrett family was doing just that on Thursday afternoon. James Garrett took advantage of his lunch break to take his sons, Levi, 9, and Knox, 6, and daughter, Nora, to the park with their grandmother, Sherry.
James Garrett, still wearing work slacks, a button-up shirt and dress shoes while baiting his sons’ hooks, said he came to the park throughout his childhood and high school.
He said the family had been to the park years ago, but returned because Levi was anxious to go fishing again.
They usually go fishing at a private stock pond in Robinson that is closer to home, but public spots like Buena Vista are a “great asset,” he said.
Though they came there to fish, the brothers ran for the new playground first, along with their sister.
“Last time we came, it wasn’t anything like that,” Levi said about the playground.
Sherry Garrett, who used to live near the park, said her husband, Junior Garrett, was an avid fisherman who frequented the park before he passed away.
“He would be very proud, to see his grandsons here,” she said.
Cook said the park lacks a restroom, which is standard for its size. For small neighborhood parks, the assumption is that people are coming from relatively close by, while larger parks expected to draw people in from a wider area typically have restrooms.
Buena Vista Park is located at 2001 Madera Drive, just inside Loop 340 near Orchard Lane.