Texans Weigh Upgrades to Popular Park
Cedar Hill State Park southwest of Dallas is the state’s most popular campsite, with more than 100 miles of lakeshore on Joe Pool Lake and hundreds of hookup sites that are now in need of expensive upgrades.
Jan Barker and her family have been cooking and camping here for months.
"It has been great, but during the summer, when a lot of people are out here, your electricity gets cut," she told WFAA TV, Dallas.
That’s why state park spokesmen called a press conference today (Oct. 25) to promote Proposition 4, which, if approved by voters, would pump $4.3 million into this park alone, mainly for new electric and water lines and sewage.
It's not the sexiest way to sell a bond package, but waste water is a big deal here.
The proposed improvements would add sewer connections to each campsite, so that visitors don't have to bring their "black-water" to dumping stations.
"It would be so much easier to have that type of facility right at the campsite," said camper Phil Feinberg.
But Proposition 4 would authorize a total of up to $1 billion in bonds to pay for much more than the parks department – including $270 million for criminal justice.
Opponents say it would amount to too much debt, especially when Texans already owe an average of $5,700 in local government debt.
Still, park officials point out that Cedar Hill is over-used and under-equipped.
For example, modern RVs require more space and more power than those in use decades ago.
"This is an old 30-amp electrical system that needs to be up-graded to 50-amp," said Tom Harvey from Texas Parks and Wildlife.
A jewel in the state park system is a victim of its own popularity, park officials say, with some pricey repairs in the balance.