Tyler, Texas (KETK) — Wednesday, at their regularly scheduled meeting, the Tyler City Council voted unanimously to approve the adoption of a master plan for Gladys and T.B. Stewart Park.
The plan adopted today includes approximately 2,600 linear feet of concrete trails, 900 linear feet of decomposed granite trails, icons describing the rich history of the St. Louis Community, an area devoted to a community garden with a barn/garden shelter, a small pond, picnic pavilion with nearby playground, heirloom garden and a pavilion/stage for outdoor events that opens onto a lawn area. The plan also includes restrooms, a 19 car parking lot and a windmill.
The park site is a nine-acre parcel comprised of open meadows, mature hardwoods, a stand of pines and a drainage swale. The site also contains a rock house with a garage.
A floor plan was prepared for the house that provides a meeting space to accommodate small groups. The floor plan intent is also to provide for ADA compliance. The plan recommends the demolition of the add-on garage area and the restoration of the open front porch.
The land for the park site was donated to the City in 2012 by Gladys and T.B. Stewart, who were long-time St. Louis Community residents. The Stewart’s were married for 75 years and together for more than 83 years. Although they had no children, they had many foster children and understood the need for safe neighborhood parks.
In October 2012, Mayor Barbara Bass, City officials and representatives of the Stewart Estate unveiled a sign at the future site of the Community Park. Shortly thereafter, MHS Planning and Design, LLC of Tyler, was commissioned by the City to create a master plan for the property.
A focus group consisting of St. Louis Community residents, executors of the estate and friends of the family met to discuss the direction of the plan with MHS and City staff in February. Additionally, a public meeting was held on March 5 at St. Louis Baptist Church to further discuss the direction of the project. After receiving input from various groups, a final master plan and budget was developed.
On May 6, MHS presented the final version of the master plan for review and comment at the City of Tyler Park Board Meeting. Members of the focus group and neighborhood were also in attendance. After favorable discussion, the Park Board unanimously voted to recommend sending the master plan to Council for final approval.
Funding for construction of the specialty park could be initiated from a variety of public/private partnerships as well as additional programmed hotel/motel taxes.
“Gladys & T.B. Stewart Park, if developed according to the master plan, will provide a unique combination of indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities for the citizens of Tyler,” said Stephanie Rollings, Parks Director.