A plan to guide the redevelopment of Rengstorff Park was approved by the City Council March 4, and it includes a remodeled community center and aquatics center that officials hope to be able to fund soon.
The plans didn't garner the same enthusiasm as the "place-making" discussion for San Antonio shopping center later that night, but there were no negative reactions to the plan, unlike the results of a 2011 effort. That was when council members balked at four different plans to transform the park significantly, with costs running as high as $139.6 million
"Given the cost it seemed like it would never happen," said council member Margaret Abe-Koga. "I appreciate this, it seems more practical."
The costliest parts of the plan appear to be expanding and remodeling the community center, at a cost of around $20 million, and renovating the aquatics center. The total for the aquatics center came in at around $8 million, with new $3.4 million pools including a new eight-lane, 25-meter pool to allow for increased lap swimming. The existing buildings were built in 1961 and 1959, respectively.
The plan is the result of a community input process that began in 2010 which found there was strong support for better lighting in the park to create feeling of safety at night, and for new features like a fountain, which was not apparent in the presentation of the approved plan.
The plan aims to preserve the park's trees and open spaces, reconfigured and expanded parking lots, better paths to surrounding homes and includes the creation of the city's new teen center in a former church across the street from the park on Escuela Avenue, now funded and underway. There are also plans for new bathrooms, a new maintenance building and tennis court storage shed.
City staff noted that there is $22 million in park land funds available for such a project, though their use on Rengstorff Park would mean fewer funds for acquiring new park space in neighborhoods that are deficient in park space.