Thursday, May 02, 2013

Lake Nasworthy Development: From Stakeholder to Public Meetings

It took five weeks for Gateway Development and Peter A. Ravella Consulting to incorporate stakeholder input and City of San Angelo priorities, culminating in a public meeting the morning of May 1.. Gateway's Scott Polokaw facilitated input in both sessions.  I attended the first Stakeholder session on March 27 where we identified the following concerns:

Access for small craft launching (I'm a windsurfer)
Lake levels (which impacts safety)
Potential displacement
Potential fees
ADA access
Nonmotorized access to lake area
Restroom facilities
Boat ramps
I did disclose that Lake Nasworthy is our least popular place to windsurf, but lack of water in other area lakes drives us to sail Nasworthy.  I also stated the City doesn't want beginner windsurfers on Lake Nasworthy in the summer, when there's high boat traffic.  It's a risk management issue.

The City's Public Information Office posted a video of the May public meeting, which is embedded below.  I encourage anyone with an interest in our area lakes to watch this session (I hour 22 minutes). 

Polokaw introduced Gateway's conceptual framework for Lake Nasworthy, comprised of five zones:

1.  Action Sports Zone - West and Southwest side of lake
2.  Nature Education Zone - West and Southwest side of lake
3.  Community Activity Zone - East side of lake
4.  Harbor Village - South side of Lake, including Mary Lee Park, the shuttered Marina, the current Nature Center and Goodfellow Rec Camp
5.  Opportunity Area - North side of lake, including Gun Club Hill and old WTU Power Plant

The meeting included several strong pushes for hotel and new housing development.  Possible hotel sites included Mary Lee Park and the old WTU Power Plant.  Restaurants and shops were mentioned in the same locations.

Those who've followed this City Council knew serious development was the aim. Other Council threads could be seen in "discouraging ad hoc walking" on Gun Club Road, moving Mary Lee park for future development and land currently owned by the city will eventually be owned by a private investor.

“Lake Nasworthy is brimming with opportunity,” said AJ Fawver, interim Community Development director. “If we are to take full advantage of that opportunity, we must have a comprehensive blueprint and roadmap for doing that. In crafting a plan, it’s vital that we hear from the public so we can ensure the end result serves San Angelo and its citizens well.”   
The spate of "options" presented to the public for feedback on May 1 will turn into a recommended direction on May 2.  I look forward to viewing the recording.  I hope Peter Ravella talks in that session.  Ravella and I share an interest in North Carolina beaches, where the Outer Banks are a windsurfing destination.  I'm traveling there in June.  I look forward to San Angelo's area lakes having clean, sustainable beaches for recreation.

Update 10-11-13:  The final plan has windsurfing at the Opportunity Area.  Huh?  If the Gun Club Road folks don't like walkers and runners, I can't imagine they'll be fans of vehicles pulling windsurfing trailers.  I couldn't pick a worse site for windsurfing than the old WTU Power Plant.  

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