The Hays County Parks and Open Space Advisory Commission (POSAC) is now accepting project ideas for parks, open space and natural areas from cities, nonprofit organizations, homeowner associations, and other groups or individuals who see specific needs for their communities and for the county as a whole.
In February 2020 the Hays County Commissioners Court recognized the need for additional public park lands and conservation spaces in Hays County and established the POSAC to provide a democratic, public process to determine the need for a bond program and make recommendations. Each of the five Commissioners Court members nominated two individuals to the POSAC, which began meeting in early March and continues to hold public meetings every other Wednesday via Zoom meeting technology. POSAC meetings are organized and facilitated by consultant WaterPR, a San Marcos-based communications and public engagement firm.
“This is very important work,” said County Judge Ruben Becerra at POSAC’s first meeting. “It is an essential part of a larger countywide visioning process to come which will provide a comprehensive framework to guide growth while protecting critical natural resources.”
Goals and priorities found in Hays County’s 2012 Parks, Open Space and Natural Areas Master Plan set forth the basic criteria for projects to be considered for a potential future bond initiative. These community, environmental and financial goals cover project priorities like scenic vistas, water quality and water quantity lands, endangered species habitat, access to water recreation, trails/trail systems, flood mitigation lands, critical land or water conservation projects, as well as active sports and urban parks.
“As Hays County’s population continues its rapid growth, land for public recreation becomes more difficult to find and more expensive as well,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said. “Our goal is to determine need and opportunity throughout the county by inviting potential partners to submit projects through a public process to be considered by the appointed Commission.”
POSAC operates under a Charter from the Commissioners Court and has approved bylaws and procedures for project submittals and evaluation. As a first step, all jurisdictions, nonprofits and other groups with projects wishing to be considered must complete and submit the online Project Information Form (PIF).
Applicants are encouraged to review the 2012 Parks and Open Spaces Master plan prior to submitting projects. POSAC will be reviewing and evaluating projects submitted through the online PIF from now until the end of June.
Learn more about POSAC and the online Project Information Form from the Hays County webpage for POSAC here.