The Palmer Post


Joey G. Dauben | Parks in Palmer by Joey G. Dauben
May 2, 2011, 3:40 pm
Filed under: City of Palmer, Palmer, Palmer 75152, Parks & Recreation Commission

Palmer is a town of 2,000 citizens (2010 U.S. Census data here), and yet, we don’t even have a single park. Ballfields we have, but not a park. According to the data I have from the U.S. Census Bureau, 36 percent of Palmer’s population is within my age bracket — with children. That is a massive chunk of the population that cannot even take their kids to a hike-and-bike trail, a picnic table or open green space, or even a playground that doesn’t belong to Palmer ISD. That is going to change. If elected on May 14, I want to assemble a Parks and Recreation committee full of a cross-section of people in our town: young people, students, business owners, city officials, school district officials — basically anyone who wants to help our town by working together to fulfill the needs of our citizens. I’ve already heard from a half-dozen of you that you want to be involved in the planning and planting stages for a park system. Palmer won’t just have one park or three. I envision this 9.56-square-mile town full of lots of open and green space.

Palmer has two ballfields and that’s it. This must, and will, change.

For those that don’t want the “town to grow,” I have some sad news for you: Ellis County is one of the fastest-growing areas of our state, and especially our region. People are moving to this county whether you want them to or not. That doesn’t mean Palmer will explode into another Ennis or Waxahachie (who’d want it to?), but we must plan and prepare for an entirely new way of thinking, and that thinking first must be to provide parks for our young people and families. The ballfields are nice, and in fact, if I could manage to do it myself, I would plan and build a regional sports complex right within the city of Palmer’s 9.56-square-mile boundary.

The open green space behind one of the ballfields on FM 878 is a perfect, prime location for several things:

  • Picnic tables
  • Trees
  • Walking trail (asphalt or, preferably, concrete)
  • Additional bleachers

I wouldn’t stop with baseball, though. We need soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, sand volleyball pits, hike-and-bike trails and six-man and 11-man football fields. We need practice fields, as well, or just a simple backstop near our businesses and industries (that we do have) for rest and relaxation for workers and citizens alike. It’s something that we need to do because this is our town. And it avails us nothing if we are or aren’t related to so-and-so in town. Pretty soon, the city must move forward and that first step was made on Nov. 2, 2010 when citizens passed the beer and wine referendum. We must — and will — move forward.

A few more of these in the open, green space behind the outfield fences of Field No. 1 — dotted with some trees here and there — and we would have our first picnic-and-park in the city of Palmer. There are numerous businesses ready to donate (i.e., give for free) materials and trees for this purpose. Why has it taken so long to finally get this? Why did it have to take from 1872 to get these ideas and visions off the ground? (for those local history buffs, 1872 is when Palmer was founded)

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Palmer Needs a Parks & Recreation Commission by Joey G. Dauben
October 26, 2010, 12:19 am
Filed under: City of Palmer, Parks & Recreation Commission

It’s time Palmer really start plotting a future course for our town’s direction, and maybe it’s a good time to propose the creation of a Parks & Recreation commission. Five to 12 members throughout town could be selected/appointed to serve two-year terms, plan future parks and recreation space, assist the city council and other city officials in brainstorming ideas and volunteering to prepare our town to handle the future…

My concept would consist of a few options, ranked in order:

  • Privately-created, privately-appointed Parks & Recreation Commission; this would be a planning board in essence, at least at first. The first few meetings could be brainstorming sessions on what the needs of the community are, how we can best (and most cost-effectively) provide them, and also show the Palmer City Council that a little initiative on our part can translate into a fully functioning city board;
  • Assisting city officials in the creation of a parks master plan;
  • Field trips to neighboring towns to discuss/look at their parks plans;
  • Lobbying corporate partners and other residents in town for possible donations of land for park space;
  • Provide a training mechanism for how to run meetings, how city government works and provide a much-needed educational system for leadership functions;
  • After a set amount of time meeting, planning, strategizing, networking and volunteering, we formally pitch the creation of a City of Palmer Parks & Rec Commission;

The types of residents who would be ideal for this Parks & Rec venture could include the following:

  • Students (almost mandatory to have at least one);
  • Business owners;
  • City council/City Hall liaison;
  • Church leaders;
  • Other interested citizens;

I believe the future is extremely bright for the town of Palmer. I’m excited at what the future holds, but we must be realistic: it will take lots of time, sweat, tears and faith that we can accomplish things…we must set goals, and draft the priorities in reaching those.