SUPERPARK!!!

3,192 Views | 39 Replies | Last: 3 days ago by Brian Alg
Brian Alg
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Lol. I didn't believe it when I heard about it second hand. But a $100 million superpark is something most of the current city council and mayor of Bryan are seriously considering. This is hilarious.

The sick desire for massive schadenfreude in me has a message for them: Don't listen to the haters talking about "streets and sidewalks" or "thinking that this is going to drive enough tourism to justify a $100 million price tag is about the goofiest thing I can imagine." Normally I complain about government overreach, but this is so funny I am not even mad. It probably helps that I live in College Station, but I seriously can't stop laughing.


http://wtaw.com/2019/08/19/the-bryan-city-council-ends-an-interim-agreement-with-a-private-superpark-developer-as-the-first-phase-is-estimated-to-cost-100-million/
agrab86
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AG
Welcome to August!!

The superpark is a vision, and visions cost $$. I don't know if this particular vision is going to work out, but if they spend this huge amount of $$ then I really hope it does. Other Bryan visions that cost a bit of taxpayer funds are Traditions and downtown renovation, and they seem to be working out. Would prefer private money to be a large part of the $100 mil, but we shall see.
JP76
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"$58.5 million is the principal on a 30 year bond issue that will be done without a public vote"

So the public has to vote to approve education bonds but not for park expenditures ?
australopithecus robustus
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I'm for the bigger picture on this one. These two cities need more draw than just texas A&M. Big opportunity to snowball into more tourism when the town's are dead 17 weeks out of the year
Brian Alg
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I am super curious what y'all's plan A is on this. In your wildest dreams, how do you see this as snowballing into more than a $100 million boondoggle with Nelson's name plastered all over it? They haven't even finished the sidewalks 2 blocks outside of Downtown Bryan.
Builder93
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I would love to see Bryan build a park that looks better than Veteran's Park.

91_Aggie
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Imagine the costs of the ongoing maintenance of a $100 million Superpark.
Feed the monster that is local city government.
Will require new permanent positions to add to city payroll.

LSCSN
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91_Aggie said:

Imagine the costs of the ongoing maintenance of a $100 million Superpark.
Feed the monster that is local city government.
Will require new permanent positions to add to city payroll.


Their parks and rec staff is already understaffed. I wouldnt expect that to change.
93Towny
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Staff
this town needs more things to do other than complain on the internet.

when we were kids we could play in the school parks, but most shut down now.

I'm excited to take my family to any new park or attraction.
Brian Alg
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In case you seriously can't find a park to take your kids.


https://www.bryantx.gov/parks-and-recreation/parks-and-facilities-listings/

https://www.cstx.gov/cms/One.aspx?portalId=12410917&pageId=13486247


I am not sure if you looked at the details, but they are talking about a $100 Million Dollar Superpark. If they were talking about ways to fill the niche that is unfilled since school parks shut down, this wouldn't be nearly so funny.


You listen to these folks and you hear them expecting this to be the Texas Taj Mahal of Basketball, people are going to flock to it from DFW, Houston, and Austin. I get the impression they think this will attract every AAU tournament in the state.
Builder93
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LSCSN said:

91_Aggie said:

Imagine the costs of the ongoing maintenance of a $100 million Superpark.
Feed the monster that is local city government.
Will require new permanent positions to add to city payroll.


Their parks and rec staff is already understaffed. I wouldnt expect that to change.
Maintenance can be outsourced for less than the city would pay doing it in house. Plus, if they build it with long term maintenance in mind, they could control future costs.

Veteran's Park is an eyesore with some sports fields. COCS is very short sighted when building their park infrastructure. If Bryan does it right, they can hold some high profile events just like they do at Veterans but make it much more appealing. (trees that actually provide shade for one example). We're the most convenient city at which to meet between the 4 major metropolitan areas. It makes sense to invest this way. I am surprised we don't have a great concert venue to draw people for large events like that also.
bobinator
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We already host the state 7 on 7 tournament here, would be awesome if we could get some of the high profile AAU tournaments here also.

The CS GASO used to be a pretty high profile AAU tournament held at the rec until it got put during a dead part of the recruiting calendar and then they banned on-campus events.

They floated CS as a potential destination for the State Basketball Tournament a few years ago but that always seemed like a long shot and then they put it in San Antonio.
JP76
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Anyone know what kind of rates the bonds are getting on this kind of project ?

The city could not even break even on the previous use where all the people actually paid $30-$50 to use the "park" area as a golf course.

Assuming. 85 million borrowed at 5% rate, That's only $4,000,000 in interest on this project in year one

Excluding utilities, maintenance and operating overhead cost.


I'm all for nice parks but there sure seems to be a blurred line here between someone's wants and needs in the community






Brian Alg
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Lol@ the idea of the $100 Million Dollar Superpark being on a competitive footing with the Alamodome in bidding to host the UIL Boys Basketball State Championships. I am pretty sure that is exactly the kind of thing these guys are thinking. Hilarious stuff. I love it!
Builder93
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I'm not saying it has to be $100 million to start, but you could build in phases and do it right along the way instead of going for McMansion type square footage.
bobinator
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I'd think the bigger competitor for the state basketball tournament is going to be the new arena in Austin, but my point was just that it's not like it's a foreign concept to bring big state level events to B/CS.

It's not like we're talking about building an event space in Hearne or something.

Obviously your whole bit is just hating on the entire premise of the idea though so it doesn't seem like reasoned discussion about it is really your thing.
Tailgate88
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As long as it includes a Pappasitos, I'm in!
Brian Alg
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>I'd think the bigger competitor for the state basketball tournament is going to be the new arena in Austin, but my point was just that it's not like it's a foreign concept to bring big state level events to B/CS.


I think you are right on both of these points.

It looks like before 2014, Austin was the home of the championships. It looks like they moved it while they were building the new arena for the university, so it makes sense that that would be the place if they move it out of San Antonio.

https://www.uiltexas.org/press-releases/detail/uil-basketball-tournaments-to-return-to-alamodome-in-2018-and-2019
https://www.kut.org/post/ut-regents-approve-arena-proposal-replace-frank-erwin-center

I dig that the idea of a state or even national event coming in to use the facility is not out of the question. Like you point out we already have them.

http://mathleague.org/11928.php
https://www.greatamericanshootout.com/product/bryan-college-station/
https://play.usaultimate.org/events/D-III-College-Championships-2019/


I understand now that you were just throwing out an example of something else big. That folks have courted. I latched onto it not because I thought you thought it was likely, but because that is probably the kind of thing these folks are thinking. And it is preposterous. They are probably discussing this in a bubble where nobody is pointing out the silliness.


>Obviously your whole bit is just hating on the entire premise of the idea though so it doesn't seem like reasoned discussion about it is really your thing.

Hating is not the right word for how I feel about this. $20 million YMCA is something I hate on. The $20 million expansion to the Expo Center in 2010 was something I hated on. Going to $100 million and calling it something as preposterous as a Superpark brings it to a whole other level and I have trouble hating it. It's just too funny.

But if there are legit reasons people have for supporting it. I am super happy to know what they are. For instance if there is some sort of impact study, I would be happy to look at it even if it is vague. Those tend to be pretty silly, too. But I do not get the impression that even that much thought has been put into this.
Brian Alg
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It looks like AA 30 year municipal bonds are going for between 2% and 2.5%.
turfman80
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AG
Talk to current and/or former COB Parks and Rec workers and ask them if outsourcing has saved the city money. Talk to them, not higher up city staff.

And the reason they want to approve the bonds without a vote is that they realize there are a LOT of people still upset about the closing of Bryan Muni and the direction the proposals are going for the Superpark.

"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
techno-ag
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turfman80 said:

And the reason they want to approve the bonds without a vote is that they realize there are a LOT of people still upset about the closing of Bryan Muni and the direction the proposals are going for the Superpark.


Eh. Not that many. There was a vocal minority that always gripes about any improvements the city tries to make. They were against Traditions. They were against the Expo Center. They were against buying Briarcrest CC. After a while people start tuning them out.
turfman80
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So why dont they put it up for a vote? And why didnt they listen to the big majority who voiced their desire to maintain much of the acreage as natural areas on the official questionnaire?
"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
techno-ag
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The wheels were set in motion back in 2017 when they voted to move the golf course. That was 6 to 1 with Sutherland dissenting. Since then they have had public input sessions to discuss openly what they're doing. It's not like they held secret meetings and are springing it on people.
turfman80
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Can you answer the questions? It seems like the public voted Against closing Muni when they had a vote. The problem I see is that the city isn't LISTENING.
"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
techno-ag
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turfman80 said:

Can you answer the questions?
Yes. I answered your first question and you went back and added more.

There was no "majority" wishing to keep it vacant land. There was only one vote on the council desiring to keep the land vacant. There's been an election since then and those numbers haven't changed. Also, park space is still open space. I think some people just like to complain.
turfman80
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Yes, you do have a position in city government...

And the question was why doesnt the city let the citizens vote on the issuance of a mega million dollar bond that will affect pockets of Bryan citizens.
"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
techno-ag
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They have proposed multiple ideas to residents. This one received the most support from the neighborhood. Your arguments hold little water, and you look like one of those anti-growth, anti good things for Bryan posters.

Here's a link to some of the community outreach the city has done:

https://www.theeagle.com/news/local/residents-vote-on-proposed-bryan-regional-park-concept-plans/article_e84c2b5c-15d4-52f2-bc50-fda6aa71ad50.html
turfman80
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techno. I see your point that the wheels are already in motion and the fate of the Superpark is decided. However, whenever the public had an actual vote, the majority voted to keep the golf course. Equating the later votes of councilmen in favor of selling the course and building the Superpark as the vote of the people, is somewhat of a stretch. Many long time residents of Bryan, and I think it is more that you believe, see the council as a group of 'hand picked' people to follow the wishes of the former and current mayor. IMO that is somewhat of a stretch, but it doesn't help when the cost of the park keeps going up and residents are now seeing the possible effects on their pocketbook. I hope the Superpark is a great addition, but I have concerns, as do many.
"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
techno-ag
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turfman80 said:

techno. I see your point that the wheels are already in motion and the fate of the Superpark is decided. However, whenever the public had an actual vote, the majority voted to keep the golf course. Equating the later votes of councilmen in favor of selling the course and building the Superpark as the vote of the people, is somewhat of a stretch. Many long time residents of Bryam, and I think it is more that you believe, see the council as a group of 'hand picked' people to follow the wishes of the former and current mayor. IMO that is somewhat of a stretch, but it doesn't help when the cost of the park keeps going up and residents are now seeing the possible effects on their pocketbook. I hope the Superpark is a great addition, but I have concerns, as do many.
How much is the Bryan taxpayer's bill going up by, exactly? None this year, correct? The bond idea is about $58 million IIRC, not $100 million. How much extra will that be on the tax bill for a home owner with a $200,000 home in 2021?
agrab86
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turfman80 said:

Can you answer the questions? It seems like the public voted Against closing Muni when they had a vote. The problem I see is that the city isn't LISTENING.
There was never a vote on whether or not to close Muni. Those 2 votes were 1) a binding resolution allowing the Muni parkland designation to be revoked, which would open up the private development of the property and 2) a non-binding referendum on whether to purchase Briarcrest.CC. Both of those resolutions failed, and I joined most in voting against both of them.

The Muni property still may only be used as a park - and a superpark (which I'm still not sure about) is definitely a park even if there is some private-public partnership involved.

The city didn't purchase Briarcrest CC/Phillips Golf Course, but rather Phillips gifted it to the city. This made the conversion of Muni to a different type of park possible in the first place.

I don't know if an election on whether to issue superpark bonds would pass or not, but we elect people to make those decisions instead of us voting on each and every thing. If you don't like what they're doing, then run against them or support those that do.
turfman80
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Here's an editorial from the Eagle in 2014 which references the vote you cite. It helps explain the hard feelings still present in the community


Please stop trying to eliminate Bryan Municipal Golf Course
  • Eagle Editorial Board
  • Here we go again. The Travis B. Bryan Municipal Golf Course, a bright spot of green smack in the middle of town, is under attack by Mayor Jason Bienski and others.
Bienski just can't help himself. He is determined to turn the municipal course into something else -- this time a "super park," with athletic fields, a skate park, volleyball courts and a walking trail -- what is a golf course but a walking trail with greens?
The Super Park is a wonderful idea, just not on the golf course site. There are plenty of other places to locate such a park, places with room to grow to serve the increasing needs of a city that is doing well, thanks in large part to the vision of city council members over the years.


The mayor believes -- wrongly we think -- that turning the golf course into a super park is in line with what the voters of Bryan said when they voted in 2011 to keep the land as dedicated park space. We ask you to consider whether that cleverly worded ballot initiative was designed to fool voters into believing they were voting to keep Bryan Muni a golf course, when actually they were voting simply to keep it as park land. A second option, to purchase Briarcrest Country Club, was a red herring to lull voters into complacency.
It didn't work.
We believe the majority of the voters in 2011 thought they were voting to keep Bryan Municipal as a golf course. The mayor and the council should honor voters' commitment to Muni and stop trying to do away with the course.
The mayor has pointed out that Bryan Municipal will lose more than $315,000 in taxpayer money this year. New York's iconic Central Park has an annual budget of $58.3 million, 75 percent of which is funded by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the city. That still leaves New York taxpayers on the hook for more than $14.5 million each year. Sure, Manhattan could make a lot of money selling Central Park to developers, but that isn't what the people of the city want.
The point is, parks aren't designed to make money -- but few city services are. Do streets pay for themselves? The police department? No, but we are glad to have them, just as we are glad to have several fine parks, including a nice city-owned golf course. Parks are amenities that improve life for all of us and help attract businesses and new people to the community.
Mayor Bienski has said that a super park at the Bryan Muni site could help spur redevelopment of South College Avenue. While that area certainly can use renewal -- and we applaud the exciting changes already happening -- it shouldn't come at the cost of the golf course. That's too high a price.
So, once again, the golfers who play Bryan Municipal -- some on a daily basis -- are up in arms. They have been mislead and deceived by a feckless city council. This constant assault on the golf course has to stop.
Briarcrest has become the fine new Phillips Event Center and it is offering Bryan Muni players and others a chance to play on its course. Many may do so, at least from time to time, but the fees are somewhat higher than at the city-owned course. Even that slight increase may keep some golfers away.
Bryan Municipal is a pretty little course. It has its challenges, as any good course should. Perhaps its biggest challenge is the lack of care and maintenance by the city, whether by design or simple neglect. Perhaps spending some money to upgrade the course and facilities would attract even more golfers.

We are blessed in this area to have really good golf course, including Miramont, Traditions and Pebble Creek, in addition to Phillips Event Center at Briarcrest and a newly redone A&M course. They are all outstanding facilities, but simply are not affordable to many golfers in the area.
It is nice to have course available in every price range and all of them add immensely to the quality of life in the cities of Bryan and College Station. All of them, including Bryan Municipal, bring in golfers from outside the community, golfers who buy golf equipment, gasoline, food and other items while they are in town.
In the end, this isn't really about Travis B. Bryan Municipal Golf Course. It is about respect and the lack of it that some members of the Bryan City Council are showing to the people who elected them. Many on the council display an arrogance, an attitude that they and they alone know what is best for Bryan.
Maybe they should hold community forums and let the people say what they want.
What a novel idea.

"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing is a pretty cool hand"
agrab86
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The reality is the city never needed voter approval to convert the property in question from one type of park (muni) to another type of park (super park or whatever). They only needed voter approval to undesignate the property as parkland, which would open it up for any type of development.

While some may have been fooled, I and many others like me fully understood what we were voting on - we were not fooled by any clever ballot language. I generally prefer to have a midtown green space park, but I would rather have some kind of park there than something business or residential. Plus, we still have a muni golf course, it's just a couple miles away from the midtown site, and it's a better course.
Fitch
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If the initial renderings are anything like what's been conceptually designed I don't know how it can cost more than $35MM all in. A mind boggling amount of new infrastructure and super luxury building finishes could be done with $100MM...
birdman
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It's absurd to think the Superpark will become the "go-to venue" for big time sports events.
techno-ag
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Fitch said:

If the initial renderings are anything like what's been conceptually designed I don't know how it can cost more than $35MM all in. A mind boggling amount of new infrastructure and super luxury building finishes could be done with $100MM...
I don't know, construction costs might surprise you. I worked on a new school building a few years ago. Nothing fancy, literally a hallway with rooms. $10 million, lowest bid. Now imagine a giant park and all the landscaping and facilities and parking and ADA requirements. So yeah this $58 million bond looks about right.
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