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Woodlands officials seek parks, recreation input

February 4, 2019

Officials with The Woodlands Township are seeking input from the public and residents about the wide array of recreational amenities in the community as part of an effort to discover more about local desires for activities and events.

The survey, which went online in mid-January, continues through Feb. 28, according to a press release.

In the release, Chris Nunes, the township’s director of parks and recreation, stated the goal of the survey is to, “understand the needs and wants of the community and prioritize them for possible implementation.”

“We are currently setting up meetings with numerous groups including the Village Associations and local sport, recreation and community groups,” Nunes stated in the release. “A critical component is to also understand the needs of the general public.”

The Woodlands is well-known for the extensive walking and bicycling trail system that weaves for more than 150 miles throughout the township, as well as dozens of parks, playgrounds and other athletics facilities used by a wide range of sports groups and individuals. In the past year, however, controversy has erupted over access to some sports fields — specifically whether or not local soccer clubs are dominating the use of sports fields in the township.

In early summer of 2018, township Director John McMullan initiated a discussion over the access to township-owned soccer fields, citing complaints he had received about the alleged improper domination of soccer fields by the Montgomery County Dynamo/ Dash Youth Soccer Club. According to a memorandum of understanding adopted between The Woodlands Township and the club first signed in 2010 and later renewed in 2016, the club is “permitted” certain rights over the community’s multi-purpose fields.

The resulting controversy led scores of residents and soccer players to descend upon a township Board of Directors meeting in June, where supporters of the club said nothing was amiss while detractors lobbied for more equitable access. After a dispute about what law firm Dynamo/Dash officials had retained to represent their access to the fields, McMullan recused himself from any participation in the issue citing a conflict of interest. Eventually, the township did not take any action, leaving the agreement for field use with the club in place and unchanged.

The quest for unique recreation ideas continued in July 2018 when township officials sought new, unique activities for space that houses the Ice Rink by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. At the time, Nunes provided a list of options for the township board at a July 25, 2018, meeting to consider as possible additions to the township’s current list of events and activities slated at the rink for February and March of 2019, a time when the space is not utilized. The board, after hearing Nunes’ presentation, instructed the parks staff to continue to explore opportunities over the next four months.

Those interested in giving feedback and participating in the online survey can visit: www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/recreationsurveys. A series of groups are also planned, according to the release, and any resident or interested person who may want to contribute to the focus groups can call 281-210-3900.

jeff.forward@chron.com

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