Rarely does an opportunity come along like the one the City of Mansfield has with the 80 acres located off Matlock Road along Walnut Creek.
This unique habitat of native trees, plants, wildlife and geology has sat mostly untouched throughout the city’s 120-plus years of history, nurtured by a local couple who loved the peace and tranquil setting the land offered their growing family.
Elmer Oliver was a former city employee who loved Mansfield, and loved his 80 acres on the creek. His daughter Marianne and her husband Kelly Williams – who later owned the property – knew when it came time to sell the land, they just couldn’t see it as anything other than a park for others to enjoy. The city purchased the land in 2003 and made its development into a nature center part of the Parks Master Plan.
Now Mansfield residents and visitors throughout the region can experience the wonder that is Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park, the city’s newest community park that will open in January with the first of three phases. Phase II in 2015 will be the extension of the Walnut Creek Linear trails through the park to Joe Pool Lake. Phase III in 2017 will be the addition of the Nature Center and the Learning Lab.
Oliver Nature Park represents something completely different for our award-winning park system. No playgrounds. No basketball courts. No ball fields. Instead it’s about connecting with nature through walking trails and special programs on plants and wildlife from the new nature education specialist now working for the Parks & Recreation Department.
I have no doubt Mansfield residents will be as enthusiastic about Oliver Nature Park as they are about Rose Park, Town Park, Big League Dreams, Walnut Creek Linear Park and all the other outstanding facilities that make up our award-winning park system. We appreciate our citizens, th City Council and the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation for their continued support for city parks. Also, we are grateful to our Parks & Recreation Department staff for their dedication to giving our citizens the best parks experience and making Mansfield one of the best places to live in America.