New Braunfels City Council Invites Bids to Begin Mission Hill Park Improvements
Feature Illustration: Concept for the 3-story observation tower at the summit of Mission Hill Park, as it would appear from the northwest. Courtesy: Parkhill.
by Adolfo Pesquera
New Braunfels (Comal County) — City Council has approved the issuance by staff of an invitation for competitive sealed proposals (CSPs) for Mission Hill Park improvements, as well as for a structured cabling project.
The council, on Feb. 8, directed staff to issue the bid invitations during its regular session. Mission Hill, an undeveloped park reserve, is a 10-acre tract located off Independence Drive and east of Oak Run Parkway.
Master plan map of Mission Hill Park.
The land was donated to the New Braunfels Parks Foundation in 2012 and has been held in trust for the city for future development. In 2016, the landscape architects of Shrickel Rollins and Associates completed a master plan for the park. The design firm is now known as Parkhill (Austin office).
In 2018, design documents were developed up to the 30% stage in preparation for the 2019 Bond election. The overall cost for development at the time was estimated at $6.2 million, with a Phase 1 cost estimate of $2.2 million.
City staff contracted with Parkhill in 2020 to investigate designs that would open the property up in a minimal way, in order for the park to be used by residents. A Phase 1A design has been developed to include parking for 11 vehicles, along with an accessible concrete trail of from 600 to 700 feet in length.
Phase 1A would also include a 5-foot diameter platform with benches and interpretive signs at the summit of the trail.
The apex of Mission Hill is one of the highest points in the city. With that in mind, the master plan proposes the construction of a three-story observation tower that would rise 27 above existing grade. The tower is not part of this first phase.
The concept for the tower is that it will include space for historical information, stairs, an optional second story meeting room an observation platform and a two-level exterior deck. The tower and attached architecture is to be oriented based on views within and around the site. Windows and portals are located to capture and frame views.
The base, or ground level, of the observation tower will accommodate historical information about the property. This area will be connected to the lower level deck, that captures views to the northwest. This space will also accommodate historical information about the site. Public restrooms will also be located at ground level on the east side of the observation tower. Currently the restrooms can accommodate events up to 125 people.
The second story of the observation tower opens up to the upper level deck that faces the northwest of the property. This deck will include seating areas and will be partially shaded from the upper deck of the observation tower. This space can be utilized for small events or can be a gathering space during field trips that might visit the site. This space will be accessed from either the interior stairs or the exterior elevated boardwalk.
The third story consists of the observation deck. A shade structure will shade a portion of the deck. A guardrail integrated into the architecture will not only serve as a barrier it will support interpretive signage and binoculars. Flexible seating will also be provided on the observation deck.
Other proposed features of the park were to include a xeriscape garden around a masonry garden wall, a cistern to harvest rainwater for irrigation, a picnic grove, trails and parking.
Unrelated to the park project, City Council also approved issuance of a CSP for a complete system of cabling and associated hardware to provide a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure for Fire Stations 2, 3, and 7, and the Fire Training, the Westside Library, Police Department and the Sports Complex.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.