Learn about Sugar Land’s $50 million parks bond election at public meeting

A public presentation on Sugar Land’s $50 million parks bond election will be held Oct. 30, from 6:30-8 p.m., at Sugar Land City Hall, 2700 Town Center Boulevard North.

The presentation will provide an overview of the three propositions for parks and trails that Sugar Land voters will consider during a general election on Nov. 5.  A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

For those unable to attend, the meeting will air live on the City’s cable television channel and at www.sugarlandtx.gov.  Viewers watching the television or online broadcast may submit questions in advance or during the meeting by tweeting to #SLParksBond or posting to the City’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SugarLand.TX.

A bond committee comprised of more than 100 citizens met from March through May to prioritize proposed projects, consider phasing opportunities and make funding recommendations.

The initiative was prompted by a lack of progress and reliable funding for new parks and recreation projects included in the City’s Master Plans and years of input from citizens asking for more recreational opportunities, high-quality parks and public spaces for special events and festivals.

Citizens’ Bond Committee recommended three propositions  

• Proposition one totals $18.5 million for a major 60-acre regional park at the intersection of Chatham and Easton that will include trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and a pavilion. The park would feature a tennis center and several sports fields where residents will be able to participate in activities such as cricket, soccer, lacrosse, rugby and flag football.  The park is easily accessible from U.S. Highways 59, 90A and State Highway 6.

• Proposition two totals $21.3 million for phase two of Brazos River Park and an adjacent festival site.  The Brazos River Park enhancements would include clearing the land to create open spaces and natural areas that could be used for picnicking, large group gatherings, field games or for passive, non-structured recreation activities. A multi-purpose lake would be used for canoeing, kayaking, dragon boat races and fishing. The park would also have meadows, shelters, extensive trails and opportunities to explore the natural setting along the Brazos River.  Adjacent to this park would be the City’s new festival ground, a facility that could accommodate large community gatherings such as the City’s popular Fourth of July festivities. The addition of trails would offer an opportunity to connect the University of Houston Sugar Land and nearby neighborhoods to many different

• Proposition three totals $10.2 million for a network of approximately ten miles of hike and bike trails and bridges that would connect neighborhoods and the community with existing trails.

The City’s current tax rate structure can support existing parks, streets, drainage and utilities; however, the property tax rate does not have the capacity for new parks projects.

Depending on economic conditions, the projects could result in a maximum of 5 cents on the tax rate phased over five years. The cumulative tax impact for the average homeowner would be $128 over the five years or 1 cent on the tax rate per year – which represents $26.60 per year per homeowner. The City will continue to try to absorb as much of the tax impact as possible into future growth of the tax base. But, even with the maximum increase of 1cent per year or 5 cents over five years, Sugar Land would still have the third lowest tax rate among 63 Texas cities within its population range.

Sugar Land’s last bond election was in 1999. At that time, the City expected to implement the projects without increasing the tax rate. Since 1999, the tax rate has been reduced by 5 cents and all projects completed. The current bond election proposal would increase the tax to no more than the rate was in 1999.

Read more at www.sugarlandtx.gov/bondelection.

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