As the town of Little Elm prepares to craft its budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year town leaders are examining several key projects anticipated in the coming years.
Some will wrap up soon, others will begin later in the year and others are planned for a few years later.
At a July 9 work session the town staff updated the Town Council on some of the big projects in Little Elm’s future.
“This was really our first time to sit down with our new mayor (Curtis Cornelious) and our new councilman (Jeremy Lukas) to go over these,” said Town Manager Matt Mueller.
Among the projects expected to kick off in the next fiscal year is the first phase of the Cottonwood Park redevelopment.
Plans call for there to be multiple sections to Cottonwood Park, including Lakefront Park. Within that is expected to be trails, multiple pavilions, accessible playgrounds, and interpretative and permanent signage. It will also include open lawn areas and parking.
Future phases of Cottonwood Park include a lighthouse lookout, performance pavilions, kayak cove, boardwalk and more.
Mueller said the town will receive a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife and funding from the Community Development Corporation to put toward the project.
“It’s under design right now, and we’re about a year away from construction,” Mueller said.
Little Elm is also expecting to move forward with The Lawn, a 2-acre park that will be located in the Lakefront area near the Tinman Social House entertainment venue and the “Tin Man” water tower. The Lawn is expected to include a half-acre lawn for programmable events, as well as a playground, water elements, a performance pavilion, an events plaza and more.
Mueller said the town plans to break ground in approximately six months.
“This is going to be a big one,” Mueller said.
Crews will be completing the improvements to Button Street in the coming days, Mueller said. Button, one of the final roads in the Lakefront area to be improved, is changing from an asphalt road to a concrete road with drainage improvements.
The town staff also presented ideas for possible future projects, though those must be placed on the budget and approved before the town can move forward with them.
Among the possible projects is an improvement to the softball fields at Lakeside Middle School. Mueller said a preliminary plan is to rebuild the facility to increase the number of softball fields from two to three. He said that would allow the baseball fields at Cottonwood Park to be used solely for baseball. Currently there are four fields at Cottonwood Park, but one of them is primarily used for softball.
Mueller said another possible project is providing more permanent structures at the camping site at Little Elm Park.
In terms of projects further down the road, Mueller said Fire Station No. 4 will be part of Spiritas Ranch, a 545-acre, 2,135-unit single-family residential development that will be located at the southeast intersection of US 380 and FM 720.
“Fire Station No. 4 will begin construction when Spiritas Ranch gets its 1,200th home,” Mueller said. “That could be up to five years unless the pace of the growth or other circumstances pushes that up.”
Mueller said the town expects to have a police substation on the north side of town in about three or four years.