Local government

Expansion of Temple’s parks and trails system will now be left up to the voters after a special City Council meeting Thursday.

The City Council voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to approve putting a $33 million parks and trails bond on the May 2 ballot. The item, which is now up to residents to approve or deny, aims to update aging park infrastructure and help construct new parks and trails.

The last bond called by the city was in 2015 for another parks bond, the last project of which, Crossroads Park, will be opened March 1.

“(The bond’s projects) touches all sides of our community,” Mayor pro tem Judy Morales said. “I think our children and our families will enjoy it, and they deserve some new amenities and parks.”

If approved, the parks bond will develop about 100 acres of new park space and nine miles of new trails for the city. Temple officials said the bond also looks at making improvements to about 20 of the existing parks by adding new lighting, restrooms and dog parks among other improvements.

The bond will also increase the monthly property taxes in the city by $3.33 per $100,000 valuation to help pay for the measure.

“I am all in favor of (the bond),” City Councilman Wendell Williams said. “I don’t think any of us would argue that there is not money better spent than on quality of life.”

At Thursday’s meeting, the City Council also ordered the general election for council member districts 2 and 3.

BOND PROPOSAL

Early voting on the $33 million parks bond proposal will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 20-24, and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 27 and 28 at the Fred Poteet Building, 120 W. Central Ave.

The four district voting locations on election day will be at the Frank Mayborn Civic & Convention Center, 3303 N. Third St.; Wilson Recreation Center, 2205 Curtis B Elliott Drive; Thornton Elementary School cafeteria, 2825 Cottonwood Lane; and Tarver Elementary School cafeteria, 7949 Stonehollow Dr.

Voting times on Election Day will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at four voting locations in the district.