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Willow Park

Residents address council with construction complaints

Kings Gate Park programming discussed


A group of residents from the Crown Road area addressed the Willow Park City Council with complaints related to the construction around them at its Tuesday, May 14, meeting,

The project is part of the city’s street and drainage improvement plan. However, several of the residents are unhappy with the changes and voiced their concerns on topics ranging from the growth of weeds in the bar ditches next to their yards to smaller driveways to speeders.

As evidence the council was listening, at the end of the evening's meeting Mayor Pro Tem Lea Young asked that the subject be put on an upcoming agenda in the near future. She suggested further discussions with departments such as engineering, police, and communications.

"It's probably going to take four or five staff members to cover these," she said.

Prior to that, however, 16 residents in the area took the opportunity to speak during the public comments section at the beginning of the meeting.

"I used to enjoy mowing my yard. Now it makes me mad," said John Lightman.

"I'm 84 years old and I'm not gonna weed eat my bar ditch," said Ned Hannah.

Teresa Palmer, who organized the group who addressed the council, complained of now having a slimmer driveway.

"Our ambulances and police can't get into our driveway," she said.

City Manager Bryan Grimes, while not able to address the citizens during the comments section per council rules, told The Community News after the meeting, "We've absolutely communicated and improved that area."

Grimes noted the difference in driveways might be connected to the new bar ditches. He explained that before, when a driveway had solid ground next to it, vehicles could easily pull in because there was no ditch for their wheels to fall into as opposed to now.

"We built them back to 12 foot driveways or better, depends on what they had before," he said, adding that even if a driveway wasn't 12 feet before the work, it was actually now widened to that as a minimum standard.

"The question is how do you keep the integrity of the drainage and still allow accessibility?"

Grimes also said concerning the weeds that the city has added those areas to their mowing contract. However, he could not tell those who addressed the council because each speaker is allowed three minutes and he, the council and mayor are not allowed to interact with them.

Grimes stressed that while the city paid for the construction and drainage work, some of the complaints, such as damage to mailboxes, etc. falls onto the contractors as "punch list" items. He said that the parts of the project that failed to meet the city's standards are being reworked at the cost of the contractor.

As for the alleged speeding in the area, Ruth Taylor, one of the residents, told the council, "If I'd had a choice I would have chosen not to turn it into the Indy 500."

Concerning the speeding complaints, Willow Park Communications Director Rose Hoffman said it is likely a case of that area being a thoroughfare in and out of the city that is now a much smoother road on which to travel. Simply put, less potholes mean cars can go faster.

"It will certainly be a more desirable road for motorists," she said. "If I had a choice between driving down pot hole alley and a nicely done concrete road, I'm gonna take the concrete every time."

Not all who addressed the council did so angrily. Several were, in fact, downright friendly and even complimentary.

"The road on Sam Bass is awesome. My driveway is awesome. The ditch is unacceptable," said Clifford Voorhees.

"I apologize I didn't bring any plants for you guys," said Ray Ramos, referencing an earlier speaker who brought some weeds she bagged up and plunked in the middle of the council chamber.

He did, however, state that he now has a "significantly narrower driveway."

Brad McCurley even extended a special invitation to the city leaders.

"We're thankful for how you serve. If you ever need a pool to come swim at, come on over," he said, adding. "We're just asking the city if they'll put back what we had previously."

Concerning the lack of communication, James Smith offered a contradiction to some of the other complaints, saying, "Gretchen (Vasquez, city engineer) has been awesome. I call Gretchen, she returns my calls."

Some others made note that Vasquez has visited the area and spoken with them.

Kings Gate Park programming

At the meeting the council approved hiring Dorothy Witneyer of Westwood Professional Services to program improvements to Kings Gate Park.

Kings Gate Park was conveyed from the Wilks Development to the City of Willow Park in December 2023. This 30-acre park is largest in the city and hosts a playground, concrete walking trail, and parking lot.

Cost for the programming is $32,400. These funds are currently available within the parks budget for professional services. 

"We need a plan in place," Assistant City Manager Bill Funderburk told the council. 

There has been much discussion about desired improvements to the popular park, including restrooms, additional parking, more playground equipment, and sporting areas. Also the Weatherford Mountain Bike Club is beginning construction of the first vision of the Willow Park Trail System this month with The Trinity Track, which will also include a beginner skills area in the future. 

Before improvements are chosen, city officials decided it best to formally program the park, rather than choose random projects and placement. The goal of programming is to bring more people to the park and can include:

  • Diversifying user profiles.
  • Enhancing park experiences.
  • Promoting affiliation and engagement.
  • Encouraging users to interact.
  • Changing the ways a park is perceived.
  • Encouraging future visits.

Witmeyer designed and executed the Cross Timbers Park playground and restroom, which opened in April 2021. Since then, it has been populated by the community’s families on a daily basis.

"That park is heavily used," Funderburk said.

Young also noted another benefit from Tuesday's approval.

"This allows us to apply for grants if it's in the master plan," she said.

Election certification

The council certified the recent re-election of incumbents Greg Runnebaum (Place 3), Young (Place 4) and Nathan Crummel (Place 5). All ran uncontested races.

Young was once again appointed mayor pro team Tuesday. Also, Crummel was re-appointed as alternate mayor pro tem.

Remembering former mayor

City leaders took a moment to remember and honor former Willow Park Mayor Marvin Glasgow, who passed away on May 6 at age 83. He served the city as chair for the planning and zoning committee before becoming mayor for two terms.

“Marvin was a great supporter of this city,” current Willow Park Mayor Doyle Moss said.

“He tried to be progressive when it wasn’t cool to be progressive,” Grimes added.

A memorial service for Glasgow will be held at 2 p.m. on May 18 at Cross Timbers Baptist Church, 601 Ranch House Rd. in Willow Park, followed by a celebration of life in the fellowship hall.


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