City of Tomball to develop new park


Volunteers at a 2013 KaBOOM! community playground build in Houston set up monkey bars. Tomball will apply for a grant later this year to create a similar project.

By Karina Brisack
Tribune Staff

The City of Tomball has begun the process of developing a new city park, which will be located at 1414 Hufsmith, for area residents to enjoy. Its construction hinges upon the finalization of a land donation from Bruce Broussard (CEO of Kentucky-based healthcare company Humana Inc.) and the approval of grant proposals at institutions like the Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Recreation Grant Program (TPWORGP) and KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization that helps communities build parks and playgrounds around the country.

“Mr. Broussard contacted us some months ago about donating that land to the city,” says Tomball City Manager George Shackelford. However, what had been previously only discussed in theory is now becoming a reality. As of July 7, following a vote by the city council, the proposed donation has entered into the legal processes required for it to be officially incorporated into the city.

“It’s finally all coming together,” said Shackelford. Tomball is expected to obtain possession the land by Sept 2014.

The city plans to develop the area into a park with the help of a $400,000 grant from the TPWORGP, whose application deadline this year falls in August.

Unfortunately, this does not give city hall much time to complete the application, leaving Shackelford somewhat less than confident in the city’s receipt of funding this year. Should the 2014 proposal fail, however, Shackelford intends to reapply next year and resume development of the park as previously planned.

In addition, the city will submit a grant application to KaBOOM!, underwritten by Broussard, to obtain playground equipment for the park. Should the proposal be accepted, KaBOOM! will help facilitate the design, fundraising and construction of the playground alongside city officials and community leaders.

The equipment will be set up in a single day, as per the usual procedure for KaBOOM! parks, by volunteers from the community. One-day building projects like the one that will, hopefully, take place in Tomball constitute the backbone of Ka-BOOM!’s signature  way of doing things, which has been appreciated everywhere from the non-profit community to a KaBOOM!-centric episode of the NBC network comedy series Parks and Recreation.

Should all the grant applications be completed without a hitch, the playground construction could be completed as early as November.