TxDOT Contemplates Closing Some Picnic Areas

TxDOT Spokesman Paul Braun
TxDOT Spokesman Paul Braun

by: Kristen Guilfoos

Amarillo, Texas - You could soon have to drive a little bit farther to find a picnic area to stop and rest on a long trip.

TxDOT is looking at shutting down 32 of the 46 picnic areas in the Texas Panhandle.

The cost-cutting measure would allow them to take the money they would usually spend on maintaining the parks and put it towards road maintenance instead.

Spokesman Paul Braun says, "On average, per park, it's about $9,000 to maintain it, and you multiply that by 32, that's quite a savings. That's quite a lot of money that we can put onto a project or some other projects like widening a roadway or filling some potholes or maybe doing a little more paving than we thought we could do."

This comes at a time when TxDOT is facing a budget shortfall... Braun tells us their revenue stream is decreasing, but their costs are going up.

The 32 sites in question made the possible closure list for a few reasons... Among them are posing a safety risk because their too close to the road, Not enough people using them, or they are located too close to another picnic area.

These picnic areas we're talking about are not rest stops. There are not any restrooms on site... They only consist of a parking area, picnic tables and trash cans.

TxDOT has not yet made a final decision on this plan. They are seriously considering it as a viable option, but they are in talks with county leaders to get their thoughts.