Want to buy a park? BREC has nearly a dozen of them on the market and is looking to sell—and at reasonably low prices. The parks for sale are among 16 pieces of obsolete land BREC is trying to unload as a way to raise revenues and reduce expenses.
“We’ve identified underutilized land we know can sell,” BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight says. “The idea is to use those revenues to purchase land people will use or to put it towards major maintenance.”
Even if all 16 parcels were to sell, the revenues generated wouldn’t make much of a difference in BREC’s $68 million annual budget. The estimated value of all 16 parcels on the list is just $658,300. Still, with 78% of BREC’s budget coming from dedicated property taxes, it’s important for the agency to be a good steward of public dollars, McKnight says. BREC estimates it spends $61,100 annually to maintain the 16 parcels.
Among the choicest parks on the obsolete land list is the Lafitte Hills Park off Highland Road, a 2.26-acre two-lot parcel in the Lafitte Hills subdivision worth an estimated $300,000. BREC acquired the neighborhood park in 1991 through a donation. Another park with an estimated six-figure value is Cortana Place Park, a 12-acre tract on the east side of Cortana Mall that BREC has owned since 1976 but has never developed.
Other parks for sale include the 8.5-acre Starwood Court in the Gardere area, which has a playground and small pavilion and an estimated value of $20,000; the half-acre Mary Ruth Park, which was stripped of all its playground equipment during the widening of Starring Road and is valued at $20,000; and the 2.75-acre Droze Road Park near Greenwell Springs, which has a playground and ball field but is extremely underutilized, according to BREC, and is valued at $10,000.
“We have a wonderful big park system,” McKnight says. “We just don’t need to continue to maintain land people are not enjoying.”