ActivePaper Archive Designs eyed for site - Hobbs News Sun, 2013-04-12

• TAYLOR RANCH

Designs eyed for site

• Sports fields, courts, BMX trails, skate park, new lake discussed

A plan for the 215 acres of land the city now owns known as Taylor Ranch is taking shape and soccer fields, basketball courts, BMX trails, a skate park and a new lake are all on the list.

At a meeting Wednesday Wayne Cooper with Halff Associates, an Austin, Texas-based engineering firm hired to develop a master plan for the site, presented three potential designs for the land to get a feel for what the community likes best.

Cooper’s first visit to Hobbs was in December and a stakeholders meeting was held to discuss the needs of the community that would best suit the land, located in east Hobbs between Bender and Sanger and east of Steven. Wednesday Cooper presented maps showing soccer fields, baseball fields, biking and walking trails and a lake with different size options. The plans also included an outdoor amphitheater and streets with round-abouts dissecting the property.

“We are looking at a lake about the same size of Green Meadows,” Cooper said, although he presented an option for a larger lake that those in attendance said they wanted.

The plans also called for two miles of walking trails to run the perimeter of the park and called for the use of trees and landscaping to provide a 75-foot wide buffer between the park and the highway and surrounding residential homes.

City Manager J.J. Murphy said the city is also eying the feasibility of putting a fun center with miniature golf course, go-carts and paddle boats on the site.

Attendees asked for a larger lake, plenty of green space for practice fields and basketball courts.

Mia Russell, parks and recreation director, said league sports are increasing in participation across the board in Hobbs and the need is growing for practice fields for soccer, football and baseball. There are more than 1,500 children in the youth soccer program and 21 adult men’s teams in Hobbs.

Austin Bigham, 16, attended the meeting and said he was there to represent the town’s skaters, asking for a skate park and park for BMX cyclists so the two groups don’t have to share space at current facilities.

“(It) would give kids more chance to ride skateboards, etc.,” he said. “Most parks don’t have anything for the older kids to do. I think we need an extreme sporting center.”

Bigham also asked for covered basketball courts, something not on the original plans and for courts with shorter goals for younger children who can’t shoot hoops on standard height courts.

City commissioner Crystal Mullins said she is flooded by calls from constituents wanting more basketball courts.

Despite the myriad of uses laid out by Cooper, which included as many as 12 adult-size soccer fields and more than a dozen youth fields, there were still large swaths of land unused in all the plans presented.

Parks superintendent Wade Whitehead asked if that land could be make into green space and then it too could be used for practice fields.

Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said he liked the ideas and asked the attendees which uses they believed should be built first. New soccer fields, the lake and skate park were all voted as top needs.

Cobb charged Cooper to come up with price estimates for each of the various uses and bring them back at a later date so the city could get a feel for the cost and develop a plan for a multi-phase built of the land.