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April 23, 2010
Major Construction Restoring, Improving Cleburne State Park
CLEBURNE — Two major rebuilding projects at Cleburne State Park, one completed, the other about to start, restore important park features missing for years. Thanks to bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by statewide voters, Texas Parks and Wildlife budgeted nearly $2.83 million for new structures which should become favorite draws for Cleburne visitors.
Already completed is a brand new, two-dorm group barracks buildings, complete with modern men’s and women’s bathrooms and a breezeway between. The barracks accommodate 44 guests in bunk beds.
A mid-summer start is expected for the second project, which includes new concession and bathhouse structures, separated by a breezeway. The former concession structure had been closed for several years, leaving the park without a store.
The Cleburne improvements represent another checkmark on a long list of major Texas State Parks rejuvenation projects underway this year, all aimed at making the parks more fun, safer and customer friendly. Texas State Parks general obligation bonds have been sold to fund more than $44 million in repairs and renovations to park cabins, bathrooms, electrical and water systems, and other state park infrastructure. Along with fixing up more than 40 state parks, the bonds provide an additional $25 million to dry berth the Battleship Texas.
The concession and bathhouse project, located in a key area along the northwest side of spring-fed Cedar Lake near Cedar Grove Camping area and the playground, also includes restoring the surrounding area.
"It is located by the spring-fed lake," says project manager Greg Thelen "We’re going to refurbish the beach area, cure some erosion problems, bring in sand and basically create a nice beach area."
With an anticipated 300-day work schedule, the two new buildings should be ready in time for summer 2011 guests. Cleburne gets about 60,000 guests annually.
"This bathhouse area is the premiere hang-out spot on the entire lake," says Thelen, "but it has deteriorated over time, along with the building, and people stopped using it. When this building is completed and this beach rebuilt, it will be a major day-use destination for people coming to the park."
The park has been without a store for six years, due to the condition of the old concession building. The new structure will offer room for a small, grill-type food service and a small store.
Just across Cedar Grove camping loop from the concession bathhouse, the group barracks are also a popular and appreciated feature. There is a strong demand at Cleburne and other state parks for barracks-style accommodations. Families, scout troops, church groups and others are among those leasing the entire unit.
The old barracks was in much use despite being held together, literally in some places, by baling wire. "It will be a great addition compared to what we had," says Park Superintendent Collis Park.
The new barracks are made from more durable material, will have modern and larger bathrooms with lockers for both genders, will be more energy efficient, and have built-in bathroom heaters and heated and air-conditioned dorms. Like all new Texas State Parks construction, they will meet Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards.
Visitors find plenty to do at Cleburne State Park, located just 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, and 14 miles from Cleburne.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps on the site where Native Americans and cowboy trail drivers used to camp, the park opened in 1938. The 528-acre park encircles 116-acre Cedar Lake, a no-wake lake that features a lovely three-tier spillway built by the CCC in 1935.
"We have people who bring their big boats, their pontoons, and we don’t have any problem with it," Park says. "A lot of people like to kayak and canoe. They use fly rods. We are noted for a lot of crappie. Inland Fisheries (a division of Texas Parks and Wildlife) stock catfish in here every year. We’re in the process of working with Inland Fisheries right now to improve our fishing."
The park has 58 campsites, all with water and either 30- or 50-amp hook-ups. Some include sewer facilities. There are also six screen shelters.
The heavily-wooded park is a draw for wildlife lovers, with plenty of raccoons, turkeys, ducks, bobcats, possums, rabbits and squirrels, plus plentiful songbirds and other native fliers. Trail bikers also are attracted to the six-miles of wooded hike and bike trails.
Watch the official TPWD Cleburne State Park video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luCTtzpn-lo
For more information on the park, call 817/645-4215. Or visit the Cleburne State Park website, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/cleburne
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