Council OKs park redesign: Changes coming to Bergfeld Park

Published on Thursday, 14 November 2013 22:40 - Written by By Dayna Worchel

A re-designed Bergfeld Park includes new playground equipment, a tennis court to match regulation size, a renovated amphitheater, a special water feature and uniform picnic tables and benches.

The Tyler City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the adoption of the park plan.

The Tyler-based MHS Planning and Design created the plan. But Tylerites who grew up with Splasher, the beloved dolphin in the fountain that faces South Broadway, should have no fear: He will be repurposed and remain in Bergfeld Park, city officials said. The statue was added to the park in the 1960s.

The cost for the entire project would be about $2 million, Mark Spencer of MHS told the city’s Parks and Recreation board members in October. The money would come from private donations and the city’s half-cent sales tax funds if the half-cent board approves, Tyler businessman Don Warren had said in October.

The effort to improve the park began in April, and Warren and his neighborhood group paid half of the $14,700 cost for the plans, with the city paying the other half.

“It’s been a group effort, with the neighbors and the city working together,” Warren told City Council on Wednesday. He added that Tyler Junior College psychology students also interviewed the community to harvest thoughts on what the new park should include.

Other plans call for removing most of the 1,000 fixed seats at the park’s amphitheater to leave a grassy area for picnics and watching shows there.

There will also be a water feature with a sitting wall and more landscaping on the east side of the park facing Broadway. Spencer told council members that there had been concern about the closeness of the water feature to the street, so the solution was to create more of a barrier.

“This park was sized as a neighborhood park, but it’s used as a community gathering area,” Spencer said. Playgrounds are transforming into gathering spaces, so there is a need to integrate landscaping and equipment with spectator areas for parents and grandparents, Spencer said.

Plans also call for a cover to be placed over the amphitheater stage and rebuilt tennis courts, which are 10 feet shorter than regulation size. There will also be a paved plaza area installed close to the tennis courts on College Avenue in an area where tree shade has prevented grass from growing. And there will be two stone columns placed at each corner of the park for banners.

Stephanie Rollings, Parks and Recreation director for the city, told the council that the list of projects for Bergfeld Park would be completed on a priority basis, starting with the playground equipment. The cost of that equipment is expected to be $400,000. “We have identified partners to help with the cost,” Ms. Rollings said.

The next few items are installing the landscaping and signage for $150,000; tree trimming and picnic pads for $150,000; tennis courts and a College Avenue plaza for $350,000; and the reworking of the Splasher feature for $250,000.