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Corpus Christi Caller-Times

City officials could begin decommissioning 24 parks, should the council approve a resolution Tuesday declaring that the properties are no longer feasible as parks.

A public hearing on the fate of 24 parks will precede the council's vote.

The parks up for decommissioning were identified through public vetting as part of the city's master plan, approved by the City Council in 2012.

As part of that process, officials offered public surveys and held a series of community meetings and hearings, said Michael Morris, parks and recreation director.

The idea is to decommission the smaller parks that are not used as frequently, redirecting funding and resources to properly care for and improve larger and more heavily trafficked parks, he said.

"The goal was, we need to make the parks we have nicer and maintain them better," Morris said.

City Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre said she endorsed the decommissioning, adding that streamlining the parks the city maintains will mean better parks getting more use, keeping them in good condition and making them less of a target for bad behavior.

But she's interested in seeing if the parkland could be repurposed and coming up with an incentive program for developers.

Doing so could "encourage developers to meet one of our needs - reasonably priced housing," McIntyre said.

Although it's unlikely that the city will see any new parks in the near future, the Parks and Recreation Department is working on trail systems for walking, hiking and biking, Morris said.

Should the council not choose to support the decommissioning - which would lead to the plots being sold through sealed bid, auction or through a real estate agent - alternatives could include leasing the properties or transferring them to another governmental entity, officials said.

In July the council can vote to place an item decommissioning the parks on the ballot for voter approval.

The City Council meets at 11 a.m. Tuesday in chambers at City Hall, 1201 Leopard St.

Twitter: @CallerCrow

June 24, 2014

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