Were it Not for Water: The Driving Force Behind San Saba’s Appealing Parks

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Over the years of development and wartime, a sentiment for the establishment of a beautiful recreation area at the Mill Pond gave way to more immediate needs, but never truly dissipated. By the late 1940s, work had begun on the development of Mill Pond Park, and by the early ‘50s, an initiative spearheaded by the Civic Improvement League and community leader Harry Shapiro worked towards the construction of a new swimming pool project as a feature. Citizens throughout the county donated their time and money to see the pool come to fruition, and on May 23, 1953, the pool was opened to the public. The formal dedication took place on June 24, complete with a large crowd, the high school band and the presentation of the official title to the pool to the Mayor. With that Mill Pond Park became a central gathering area for San Saba residents.

Were it Not for Water: The Driving Force Behind San Saba’s Appealing Parks

Photo: Pinterest/Vivian McCall

Two decades later, Guy Risien deeded his riverside property to the city of San Saba, forming Risien Park, and over the years, San Saba has made considerable upgrades to both parks. With 71 shady acres on the south side of Hwy. 190, Mill Pond Park includes the municipal pool, the lake and waterfall, a beautiful water wheel, camping and picnic areas, trails, sports fields, and the San Saba County Museum and San Saba Civic Center. Risien Park, on the banks of the San Saba River, features playgrounds, picnic areas and a pavilion, volleyball courts, as well as a rock amphitheater. On an adjacent property, the city has also constructed an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, as well as an RV Park. Since then, the Lower Colorado River Authority purchased land on both sides of the highway, connecting the Mill Pond and Risien properties into the San Saba River Nature Park, providing access to the San Saba River in an attractive setting, appealing to locals and travelers alike. Vision is a wonderful thing to have, and water helped make this one happen.