What do residents in Galveston County’s biggest city do for fun during the summer? Increasingly, the answer is apparently stay in League City.

“One thing we hear over and over from residents, when we ask what they love about League City, is that they love the small town feel of it,” said Sarah Greer Osborne, spokeswoman for the city. “We can’t stop the population growth, but we feel one of the ways we can maintain that feel is through events and activities we provide to our residents.”

And, based on statistics and residents, it appears that effort is paying off.

“We love the community events,” said Rachel Modlin, a League City resident. “The carnival rides, food, live performances and music and the fireworks on July 3 and the 4th of July celebration at Hometown Heroes Park.”

More than 900 kids are taking swim lessons this summer, more than 10,000 people will visit the community pools and more than 672 spots were filled within 24 hours for the city summer camps, according to the city’s parks and recreation department statistics.

And that’s just a few of the options, parks officials said. More than 500 people are participating in youth basketball, another 100 people are enrolled in youth baseball, more than 100 people are participating in astronomy in the park and another 1,000 children are taking part in other youth programs, according to department statistics.

League City’s population in January was 106,803, up from about 102,634 at the same time in 2017, officials said.

“We are definitely busting at the seams here,” said Kenny Walsh, the superintendent of parks and recreation for League City. “A lot of it just has to do with word-of-mouth and having quality programs.”

While most cities have typical summer activities like summer camps and different summer sports leagues, League City of late has emphasized catering toward specific community needs and nontraditional programs to increase its summer participation, Walsh said.

“Those are harder to grow, targeting a specific demographic,” Walsh said. “It takes a little more legwork and marketing. But then, people come to you to try to find those camps.”

The best marketing often is just parents who learn the city offers a specific type of class and then informs others interested in the same pursuit, Walsh said.

“League City has a lot of great summer activities for kids,” said Chad Tressler, a League City councilman and parent to several children. “Mine are signed up with the city-run Camp by the Creek out at Hometown Heroes Park, which is always super popular. Some of the sessions fill up almost the minute registration opens. It’s cheaper than daycare, and the kids are kept very active the whole day.”

All of Tresslers’ children also learned to swim via city swim lessons, he said.

Modlin’s family also likes using the various city swimming pools to meet friends over the summer, she said.

But city activities aren’t limited to just children.

“There’s a big user demand,” Greer Osborne said. “There’s a big senior citizens program.”

Residents have their choice of a vast array of different possibilities, including such unique experiences as fencing, Greer Osborne said.

“The gist is that we feel like these events help keep the small-town feel,” Greer Osborne said. “Residents get to come together with their neighbors and do things like water aerobics. We serve thousands of hotdogs at citizen appreciation day, which is a longstanding tradition.”

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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