UP, HPISD Starting Pilot Program For Spring 2021 Athletic Season

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the city of University Park and Highland Park ISD to re-examine how their outdoor space is used.

The city and school district had previously entered into an interlocal agreement in 2006 that allowed them to share use of public facilities.

After looking at the athletic fields available, University Park parks director Sean Johnson said during a recent city council meeting that the city and school district agreed to implement a pilot program for the spring 2021 athletic season to allow the city to use athletic space at University Park Elementary on a weekly basis to facilitate athletic practices, games, and like competitions during non-school hours. 

“We would definitely make certain that we monitor the site before, during, and after each scheduled use, and while you see a large window of opportunities, the goal is to not maximize every hour that is available to us. We definitely would keep it in a manageable situation where we won’t have too much usage taking place,” he said. “We have agreed and will have staff and infrastructure in place to return the grounds to the state in which they were received and also the city will provide our own required field markings, nets, goals, etc. The overall general maintenance will continue with the school district.”

Also, in a timely move, given last week’s winter storm, the city council approved a $99,720 contract with CDM Smith Engineers for the risk and resilience assessment of the water system required as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, passed by Congress in 2018, and updating the city’s emergency response plan. It’s expected to be an eight-month effort.

The assessments must consider physical infrastructure as well as system monitoring, operation and maintenance of the system, chemical handling, and financial infrastructure.

The emergency response plan will include strategies to improve resilience of the water system, plans and procedures to be implemented in the event of a threat or hazard, actions and procedures to lessen the impact on public health, and strategies to be used in the detection of threats and hazards.

“As we’ve done in the past, we’re going to be coordinating pretty thoroughly with the Dallas County Park Cities Municipal Utility District, who also has to meet the requirements of the AWIA, and as they provide water to our system and monitor some of our facilities, we will need to work cooperatively with them,” said operations manager Jodie Ledat.

The utility district is also working with CDM Smith Engineers, Ledat said.

In other news, the council approved:

  • Final payment of $38,667.35 to JM Management LLC repairs to the service center warehouse building at 4419 Worcola.
  • An amendment to the fiscal year 2020 executive department budget to account for the costs associated with the exchange of city-owned property in the 3400 block of Haynie Avenue for property at 3420 Rankin Avenue. The amendment increases General Fund expenditures by $650,388.90, all within the executive department. City officials say the property purchase will be funded from the “SMU Land Sale” committed funds. City officials say the value of the Rankin property will be “repaid” through the increase in ad valorem taxes paid on the improved Park Plaza property.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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