Parks Board dreams big for Coffield redesign

MARFA – Marfa’s Parks and Recreation board has big plans for Coffield Park, and they’re trying to figure out how to make them a reality. At Tuesday night’s meeting at Marfa City Hall, board President Trey Gerfers led his fellow board members through the details of a master plan and invited three local architects to weigh in on feasibility and next steps.

The board overcame its first hurdle to redesigning the park when City Council voted last month to permanently close the main entrance to Coffield Park, which will allow the board to tear up the wide swath of pavement that covers almost a third of the park’s grassy expanse.

In its place, the board envisions a walking path, one that leads from the former entrance to a water feature in the center, creating a splash pad for local and visiting children to play in. Another path, perhaps crushed gravel, will wind up from the Marfa Activity Center parking lot, and encircle the park. Gerfers was sure to add that the path’s surface needed to be friendly to wheelchairs and baby carriages.

Coffield’s gazebo stands starkly in the middle of the park, but the new plans show an addition including a kitchen and some nearby restrooms to turn the space into a venue for birthdays, reunions, and more. The facilities will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The board also wants to plant more trees for shade, add picnic tables near the former front entrance and add barbecue grills throughout the park.

Boardmember Virginia Platt then got down to business with the three invited architect guests–Zeke Raney, Lilliana Fields and Elizabeth Farrell. “One of the challenges at that park is the slope. The gazebo is a lot higher than the rest of it, so one of the things we talked about is where is that water going to run? Even on the walk trails, you don’t want to have water standing,” Platt said.

Fields agreed and informed the board that swales or tiering would help control water flow, and the slope for the walking path from the parking to the gazebo area needed to be sloped in a way that’s ADA compliant. “It’d be worth having a survey done,” Fields concluded.

The three architects emphasized that having a topographical map along with conversations with a civil engineer would help make their vision more realistic and eventually a reality. Fields also encouraged the board to consult other cities’ codes to see some of the basic rules-of-thumb that go into making a sustainable, useful park.

The board unanimously approved a motion to contact a surveyor and an engineer to obtain bids and keep the park project moving ahead. Though they see the project taking well over a year to come to fruition, the vision has now been cast for Coffield.