|Coleman Park lands on Texas Department of Agriculture's list of best picnic sites|
|Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor|
July 3, 2005 -- Admittedly, with high temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, this Fourth of July holiday weekend may not hold the promise of perfect picnic conditions.
But, if you are going to spread a blanket and battle beetles for your potato salad, Sulphur Springs is one of the best places to do it, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.
The city's Coleman Park was included in the agriculture department's recent list of "Ten Spectacular Texas Picnic Destinations" near "Texas Yes!" towns.
Texas Yes! is the Texas Department of Agriculture's initiative to market and promote rural Texas. Sulphur Springs was one of the first cities selected by TDA last year to host workshops under the program to help rural communities learn how to boost their tourism industries.
Coleman Park was one of only two in East Texas chosen for the list, the other being San Augustine, which is located between the Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend reservoirs.
The Sulphur Springs park landed a spot on the list because of its unique and useful features. In addition to the requisite charcoal grills and tables, the walking tracks, water features and recreational facilities were mentioned.
TDA's list noted that visitors can stroll on the walking trail through a tunnel underneath the waterfall, and over bridges that traverse the dual-level lake, which includes a large fishing pier. The trails eventually lead to the complex of baseball and soccer fields, as well as tennis courts and a playground.
The city's newest public park was built and is maintained with a blend of public and private funding. Voters in 1999 approved a 3-cent property tax increase to cover construction and maintenance costs, as well as the use of up to $150,000 per year in sales tax dollars collected by the Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation for the project. Private businesses -- specifically Alliance Bank, GSC Enterprises and JB Weld -- also pledged large donations to help with upkeep of the park.