The flurry of activity in the Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department continues into the fall. From upgrades at existing parks to exciting new trail connections, the list of projects is long. Here’s a update of what’s currently happening in parks and rec around the city.
North Main Street Trail
Construction continues on the North Main Street trail connection, where Walnut Creek Linear Trail will soon connect to Historic Downtown Mansfield. Crews are nearing completion of the sidewalk on the east, which includes a concrete barrier and lighting to form a safe, accessible trail perfect for walking or biking. Once work is completed on the east side, crews will shift their attention to the west side of Main Street, adding a matching trail from Main Street Lofts to Oak Street. The entire project is expected to be completed by spring 2019.
Thirsty? Three water fountains were added at Clayton W. Chandler Park, including a water-bottle filling station near the tennis courts and dog water bowl attachments on the rest. The water stations are spread throughout the park so guests enjoying any of the many amenities can easily refresh themselves (and their pups).
The Mansfield Activities Center’s restrooms got a refresh this spring, with new sinks, counters and stalls in both restrooms. The existing equipment had been in place since the MAC’s original construction in 2001. Additional upgrades planned for the MAC in FY19 include storage space and counters in classrooms, as well as the replacement of the gym flooring and new bleachers.
Next time you pick up a game of hoops you might notice a change in the basketball courts at Katherine Rose Memorial Park and Town Park. Both courts have been resurfaced to add better grip, less slip, and more clear marking of boundary lines. The new surfacing is also a fun bright blue and red, adding a pop of color to the green parks. The courts at Rose are already completed and in use, and Town Park will be completed the week of August 27. The safety surfacing below Rose Park’s playground was also repaired this summer, which might explain the extra bounce in the step of little ones as they play. Rose Park is the busiest of all Mansfield parks, named Favorite Playground/Park by readers of Arlington-Mansfield Living Magazine this August. The FY19 budget also provides funding to upgrade the playground equipment in Rose Park.
The Mansfield Parks & Recreation Administration and Convention & Visitors Bureau building at 1164 Matlock Road is progressing quickly and is on schedule for a winter 2019 opening. The building, located adjacent to and south of Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park, will have rock and cedar elements included to coordinate with the park and blend well in the area, which is a mix of light commercial, office and residential. It includes staff offices, conference rooms, a work room and a large community meeting area. Parks, recreation and CVB administration staff currently occupy the former fire station located on Smith Street near Historic Downtown Mansfield.
Athletic Field Master Plan
The Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department held a series of public forum meetings to gather feedback on the existing athletic fields as it looks ahead to the next 20 years. Based on those meetings, additional staff research and trend forecasting, staff is developing a 10-year master plan to guide construction and redevelopment of current and future athletic fields to best meet the growing city’s needs and desires.
An outside consultant is currently developing final drafts of the site master plans for James McKnight Park East and Michael L. Skinner Sports Complex. Cost estimates are also being prepared for each complex, including options for phasing in the improvements. The goal is the have the final draft prepared for MPFDC Board and City Council adoption within the next few months.
The City Council has directed staff to move forward with construction plans to build the city’s first off-leash dog park. The proposed plan was discussed during the Aug. 13 council work session. The project was originally part of the FY18 budget, however final approval of the conceptual master plan was tabled in April pending review by the incoming City Council. The park will be constructed as planned at 604 W. Broad St., the homestead of Mansfield founder Ralph Man, and will be built in conjunction with the restoration work on the original house. Both the park and the historic landmark will share parking facilities, a plan designed to save time and money. The home and historic barns will be fenced separately and access restricted to preserve the site. Long term, the property will also serve as a trailhead for a future phase of the award-winning Walnut Creek Linear Trail System as it is extended west from Town Park.
As with most Parks & Recreation projects, the dog park will be funded in part by the half-cent sales tax, which was approved by Mansfield residents in 1992 and managed by the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation. Park development fees will fund a portion of the project as well. These funding sources allow the city to provide top-quality parks and recreation facilities without impacting residential or business property taxes. Funds generated by the half-cent sales tax may only be used on parks and recreation projects, maintenance and operations. Park development fees may only be used to set aside land and develop parks in the quadrants where the fees are generated by new residential development.
Going forward, city staff will execute a design contract for construction and bidding documents with Pacheco Koch, a multi-disciplinary design firm. The company was already enlisted to create the conceptual master plan for the park based on the feedback received from citizens in surveys, emails and public forum meetings held earlier this year. The design development and construction document phase should take about four months to complete, at which point the project may be advertised for bid. A construction contract is expected to be awarded in early 2019, with an anticipated six-month construction schedule, barring any major delays from weather or unforeseen circumstances. The park is expected to open and be ready for puppy play in fall 2019.
Walnut Creek Linear Trail extension
Advertisement for construction bids is expected in September – upon final approval from the United States Army Corp of Engineers – for the next phase of the Walnut Creek Linear Trail. The 1.15 mile segment would take the trail from Oliver Nature Park, through two neighborhoods to Philip Thompson Park, moving to just west of the 360 Tollway and then tying in Walnut Ridge Baptist Church. This section, like the rest of the linear trail, will include 12-foot wide concrete trails, elevated concrete boardwalks, with a short section of hardened decomposed granite trail (USACE requirement) ideal for walking, running and biking. Once bids are received, approved and a contract awarded, the total construction time is expected to take about 12 months. Future phases of the trail, such as the section continuing east through the Joe Pool Lake recreation area and the section running through the new Shops at Broad retail development, will connect the segments for one long spine trail that spans the length of the city from east to west.