Discussion – Smithville Downtown Community Oasis

“What do you want the Smithville Downtown Community Oasis to look and feel like?”

The concept of a defined ‘Community Oasis’ area emerged during the Community Visioning in 2019, and then was validated in the Community Survey as part of the early stages of the Comprehensive Planning process in 2020. This has now been drafted into the proposed Downtown Community Oasis Character Area, that links the historic downtown to the lake and surrounding areas. Some of the uses people have talked about for the green areas on the map below (green spaces between downtown and lake) have included:

  • River walk connecting the north side of downtown to the trail system
  • Spaces for community events and festival areas
  • Ecological gardens, habitat and environmental education areas
  • Potential local food areas, including community gardens.

We would love to hear your thoughts!

What would you like to see in the Smithville Downtown Community Oasis?

What would make this a special place for you and the community?

Proposed Smithville ‘Downtown Community Oasis’ character area.


  1. David Beurle
    August 13, 2020 at 5:50 am · Reply

    This Downtown Community Oasis concept is really unique, and attracted a lot of interest during the task force meeting at end of July. Would love to hear what residents want to see in this area and how to bring it to life

  2. Dru Rachaner
    August 13, 2020 at 10:44 am · Reply

    I like the idea,, Most important part of this is getting more people traffic; that in turn drives expansion/improvement to the downtown area. We need to drive more business off of 169 and into the downtown area.

  3. Jenny Armstrong
    August 13, 2020 at 1:02 pm · Reply

    I am having a hard time seeing the ROI on this effort. I think a recreational complex that includes a pool, tennis courts, perhaps park area with sprinklers/fountain for folks to congregate would have a better return on our investment. Is the goal to serve 10-15 businesses that are downtown, or is the goal to get more folks to move to the community? I think the upgrades to DT have been terrific, and it gives me pride, but seeing as we already have a multitude (literally 100 of miles) of trail systems around the lake, not sure how additional trail systems from DT area are going to serve the overall community – there is no revenue to be earned off these trail systems, only cost. At least with a pool, there could be monies earned. Cost for the trail system, I am assuming will be north of 1M???? What would the cost of a community pool be. Let’s start putting our minds to how develop a community with ROI to our infrastructure.

  4. Jennifer Pease
    August 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm · Reply

    I feel like a pool or more businesses is the way to go. The trails do not bring in revenue at all. We have more people in smithville now than 10 years ago. This town would not let new businesses or competition businesses move into this town for years. It’s time we become a town that helps the community instead of spending millions on new trails.
    A pool is a great way to make revenue. We used to have a pool back when I was in elementary school. It was great to just drive a little ways to get there. We also need a community center, not the one we have downtown. The ymca would be a great choice for that. A couple years ago I got a phone call survey for that, what happened with those plans?
    But I do feel if we start bringing more things such as a pool we need our emergency room back opened. This is a disgrace to our lake community by not having one.

  5. Lori Callow
    August 13, 2020 at 9:10 pm · Reply

    I agree with Jenny Armstrong.

  6. David Beurle
    August 14, 2020 at 4:59 am · Reply

    Great comments on the community center / recreation facilities. We are going to explore this in a future discussion topic.

  7. Rob Wunder
    August 14, 2020 at 11:44 am · Reply

    I’d like to offer a counterpoint to the trail system not generating revenue. If the trail systems and river walk are put in place, they will connect visitors to Smith’s Fork Park, and ultimately from Harborview and Grayhawk to the downtown though bike/trials. They will make the area more attractive to families moving to the area, as well as to visitors to the downtown area. They will offer residents of Downtown a more healthy quality of life. All of this generates indirect revenue. As the area grows and expands, the trail system offers connection and recreation. It will add value to the entire area for as long as they exist while requiring minimal maintenance. That’s the whole point of in including pedestrian networks in any city planning, which is why it’s popular and widespread. It’s also a one time cost with minimal upkeep, vs a pool which is a constant drain….and why put in a pool when we have a lake with a beach? (I know why, but it’s still redundant.) The pool installation, maintenance, and upkeep over a 30 year period is significant relative to the trail network.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the river walk idea! And the two proposed Conservation Areas! Green space is important to maintain and protect. There are a number of scientific studies linking easy access to green space/nature with longer lives and better health outcomes. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Saving that space will offer a better ascetic to the area as a whole, and a better quality of life for residents.

    When community planning it’s important to take into account all factors, even those that are intangible or don’t have a direct dotted line to revenue. There are many ways that quality community planning and the inclusion of public trail networks and public spaces will generate revenue in other areas and contribute to a vibrant, active community for decades to come. This can be our beautiful future. Thank you.

  8. Bobby Reed
    August 14, 2020 at 3:45 pm · Reply

    I think both futures for our town can come together, I have a perspective on both the trail system and the river walk downtown. In the end game they both provide commerce., look around the country at other river walks, they seed and grow business as well as providing evening social environment that attract people from miles around. A river walk is a unique atmosphere for the northland and would provide night life appeal, of which we currently have none. The trail system brings in a financial power base of young and old urban professionals, blue color and the working youth that seek to not only live in a congestion free environment but provide for themselves and their growing and new families a place to grow and enjoy one of the few scenic covered trail systems and off road bike, walk and running single tracks in 60 miles.. I love the idea of a community center, in fact perhaps linked to the trails and the lake to include an access for kayaking and water sports. But to do it that takes a tax base which can only be provided by the individuals that move in to take advantage of the vision of a community that supports the outdoors in a social and personal way. Once we have the trail and river system we will be in a better place to see the vision of a community center of a size that supports a growing location and constructed in the right place and not just the land that may be acquired today.

  9. Debra Dotson
    August 15, 2020 at 9:31 am · Reply

    I love the River Walk idea. I enjoyed a stroll along the San Antonio Riverwalk many years ago. We used to go to St. Joe to walk the river walk trail there before the floods damaged it. If we could build a RW with low risk from flood damage (and costly repairs) that would be great. Trails can be lower maintenance than a pool. But. Many of our subdivisions have opted NOT to put in pools precisely because they are a drain on subdivision finances and require constant maintenance. I too, remember the old Smithville Pool… does the city own this land?? If so, perhaps a new community pool and center could be put there. A community pool would bring in revenue, but it would also be a huge cost to build and maintain. I wonder if most citizens would approve of a higher tax to supplement the costs involved. Revenues alone may not cover the costs.
    Regarding ROI on trails… when people come to walk, bike, hike, jog trails they often stop at local business for gas, a drink, a meal or supplies before heading out for the day. Trails in the area often get used 12 months a year. Nature Walks conducted by Conservation or local naturalists could engage the public. Connected trails through out Smvl encourage a healthier community and may, in the long run…bring more business to Smithville. Our new bike shop seems to be bringing in more people…perhaps they will sample and shop other business establishments.

    Other communities that support outdoor amenities seem to thrive better when “walkability” for all ages is a focus.

    And yes….we absolutely do need a fully functioning ER!!!

  10. Allyson Attigliato
    August 15, 2020 at 6:07 pm · Reply

    I believe the Pool Idea and the Community center is definitely a great idea. I think the pool is absolutely worth considering along with a dog park. I think that as long as we get the basic commodities then we can expand and become more unique in how we build an oasis. We all should know that this will definitely take time to shape this area, but as long as we take steps forward I think we will be heading in the right direction. I definitely feel that that the oasis should feel fun, airy, and a unique center that sort of ties everything together while maintaining the historic rustic look. If we make downtown the heart of Smithville let’s make the Oasis an extension of the heart

    • David Beurle, CEO Future iQ
      August 20, 2020 at 7:44 am · Reply

      We are going to be hosting a discussion topic on the Community Center next week. Thanks for your great thoughts – its fascinating to see ideas come to life in this community!

  11. Tyler A
    October 6, 2020 at 1:28 pm · Reply

    I look forward to hearing more about this proposed annex of the dam area, the river walk, and a dog park.

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