Texas A&M administrators get support from the board of regents to investigate commercial development around Hensel Park, which is located off South College near the border between College Station and Bryan.
The park, which opened in 1946, is still home to a domed pavilion that was featured at the 1964 World’s Fair.
During the regents building committee on November 9, committee chairman Michael Plank of Houston questioned the university’s liability after a recent visit to the park and being greeted with a sign that he says is so worn out he could not read the lettering. Plank also observed a woman shaving the head of a child and seeing “a couple of folks who looked like perhaps (they were involved in) illicit activity, drug use, etcetera.”
Presentation materials to the regents stated that in three years there were 33 arrests or formal follow-up by police where case numbers were assigned, and over 3,300 checks were made on suspicious activity.
Regents chairman Tim Leach of Midland wants to protect historic trees that remain after many were moved in recent years from Hensel Park to west campus.
A&M chief operating officer Greg Hartman says they have done some early brainstorming that includes asking both cities and A&M’s agriculture and architecture departments to participate in renovating Hensel Park.
Presentation materials given to the regents provide five bullet points to “revitalizing Hensel Park”:
- Recognize historic and contemporary elements of 53-acre park site that connects Texas A&M, College Station and Bryan
- Offer recreational value to nearby students and longer-term residents
- Attract private investors to adjacent land use
- Create a vibrant public gathering place, and
- Lead to improved management of park space, including law enforcement
The regents were told about the formation of a Hensel Park planning task force, composed of A&M faculty and students, A&M system real estate and facilities representatives, city of College Station planners and the parks director, and planners from the city of Bryan.
The regents were told that A&M students will hold listening sessions and work with faculty and city leadership to develop concept plans. Those concept plans are scheduled to be presented in the late spring of 2023 to the task force and then to A&M and system leadership.
Click below to hear comments from the November 9, 2022 Texas A&M system board of regents building committee meeting.