FM CAC update

The workout facility inside the Community Activity Center is heavily used, and many residents have urged the town to provide more space.

Thursday night's joint work session between the Flower Mound Town Council and the Parks Board was a long time coming.

Seven years to be exact.

So when the two groups met for the first time since 2012 to see if they shared the same goals, it turns out for the most part they did.

Now it's time to figure out how to make the priorities happen – and that could mean a bond election.

One of the big priorities the board brought to the council was expansion and renovation of the Community Activity Center and construction of a new center on the west side of town. 

Board Chairwoman Teresa Thomason referenced both the 2017 Parks Master Plan recommendations and resident input to stress why improvements to the CAC are important.

According to the master plan, the recommended service level for the CAC is 2.0 square feet per resident, and the CAC is currently at a 0.8. A consultant study indicated that renovating the CAC and constructing a new center would bump the service level up to 2.4 and would maintain an acceptable level until 2026. Constructing the new center only would reach the goal until 2022, and renovating the CAC only would keep the town below the desired goal this year.

The master plan recommendations included expanding the center from 61,000 square feet to 100,619 square feet and renovating 16,655 square feet of the facility.

Thomason also noted a survey of CAC members this summer in which many of the comments focused on what they described as too small of space inside the CAC's workout/fitness area.

“The capacity at the peak times is key,” said Board Vice Chairman Rick Kenyon. “At peak times we are well beyond capacity.”

Town statistics indicate there were 3,391 Flower Mound households that purchased a CAC membership in the last year.

Consultant Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture has already presented a conceptual plan for the expansion and renovations. Chuck Jennings, director of parks and recreation, said the expansion/renovation had a $22 million price tag two years ago but said the design and estimate would need to be updated.

The master plan also recommends building an 80,000-square-foot recreation center on the west side of town for the 20,000 to 30,000 additional residents anticipated to arrive there in the next 20 years. Jennings said it's unclear what the cost of that would be.

“With the rate of the population growth we're going to need that facility out there,” Thomason said.

Councilman Jim Pierson asked if having the west side center would relieve the CAC enough to where the town wouldn't have to spend the full $22 million.

Thomason said residents on the east side likely wouldn't drive to the west side. Kenyon said the CAC still needs relief either way.

Kenyon said the location of the new center needs to be more centrally located.

Both groups agreed that finding land for the center is important to do now. Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos said the town has been pursuing that, but there are challenges.

“We've been looking everywhere,” Stathatos said. “But some (landowners) aren't willing to sell, or they aren't willing to talk about it until they've come in and master planned their property.”

Pierson suggested asking large landowners to donate a piece of land for the center. Mayor Steve Dixon said those conversations have happened, but landowners often want entitlements in exchange.

The board also stressed the importance of a tennis center. The master plan calls for one court for every 6,000 residents, which would mean eight additional courts for the town.

Jennings said part of the Town Lake East residential development on FM 1171 and FM 3040 has been discussed as a possible site. He said the acreage for a tennis center would have to be deeded to the town, which could happen in early 2020. Then it would have to go through a master plan process, which is set for fiscal year 2020-21.

While it's not official, Stathatos said he hasn't heard of the acreage being used for anything but a tennis center, though Pierson said he's heard it could just be used for a park.

The estimated cost for the tennis center is $5 million to $6 million.

The council supported the idea of a bond election for these items and others. Deputy Town Manager Debra Wallace said a bond election could also include road projects and a cultural arts center if the council decides to pursue one.

“I would prefer, as a voter, to be able to go in and vote, not one inclusive yes or no, but … where as a voter you can prioritize. I want this, but I don't want that,” Dixon said. 

The council plans to continue discussing the items at a future meeting. 

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