This is an exciting and transformational time in our city. I am confident that we’ll look back years from now and think that we collectively created some long-needed projects that will serve our community for many decades.
One amenity we will ideally be able to realize for our community is a sports park for our local kids. It is hard to fathom that the recently opened indoor Das Rec center replaced one that was built way back in 1934 and there hasn’t been any new outdoor sports fields made available by the city in nearly 50 years! The population has quadrupled since then making the high demand for sports fields far outweigh the availability.
Several years ago, thanks to the foresight of the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation (4B Board), Pros Consulting of Arizona and Luck Design of Austin were retained to create a plan to meet our current and future demand for outdoor sports fields. The result was the Athletic Field Master Plan, which called for a new sports complex and also outlined upgrades and expansions for all of the existing inventory of sports fields located in various parts of our community.
Unfortunately the existing fields, even when upgraded, are not enough to handle the present load or demand much less the future need, therefore creating a new sports park with multipurpose rectangular fields is a must for our fast growing community. Not only will a new sports park address our needs now and in the future, but our kids will also have a place to relocate while the old existing fields are being upgraded.
You may be wondering why the organization I chair, the Greater New Braunfels Economic Development Foundation, would care about sports fields. Simply put, the new paradigm of today’s employee is that they choose where they want to live first, and then look for a job; not the other way around. That creates the need for a community to have amenities people desire like higher education facilities, cool and vibrant downtowns, entertainment venues, live-work-play environments, dog parks and of course adequate sports facilities for their children.
On August 8, the City hosted a public meeting in Landa Park at the Landa Haus to give all interested citizens an opportunity to learn more about the planned sports park. Odds are it will be a May 2019 bond issue line item and is one that greatly needs our support so we can see this project through to fruition. Much has already been done to get to this point. Citizens approved funds in the 2013 bond package to purchase the land (which was completed earlier this year), a game plan was created to guide the development of the multipurpose fields, and a plan has been outlined to upgrade the old existing fields once the new sports park is completed.
Besides providing brand new facilities for our local kids, there is a financially beneficial component to this project that will bring in new dollars to our community: sports tournaments. The Pros Consulting team’s research shows that this is a natural and effective way to bring in quality tourism during a time of year we need it most. Sports tourism is big all around the country and hosting baseball, soccer, volleyball and various other sports tournaments helps communities increase their sales tax revenues by importing out of town dollars via the many visiting parents, kids, coaches, scouts and extended families attending those tournaments. Our Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau is geared up to market to this segment, just as they can now market to more volleyball events with the new courts at Das Rec indoor recreation facility.
We are fortunate to live in a community where our citizen’s needs are being met by forwarding thinking individuals who carefully weigh the benefits along with the economics in order to provide amenities without over burdening the taxpayer. Let’s get behind this effort as it moves ahead because it is a win win for our kids AND our community.
Mary Jane Nalley