Summer fun is well underway, but as usual there are no lazy days for the Mansfield Parks & Recreation Department. Here’s a small sampling of what they’ve been up to and what’s on the horizon for the months ahead.
Chandler Splash Pad Opens
The Splash Pad at Clayton W. Chandler Park opened May 25. The free water feature is turned on from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Labor Day weekend. From Sept. 2 through Sept. 30, it moves to modified hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends to work around school schedules. Either way, there are plenty of opportunities to cool off from the Texas heat and enjoy a splash in the park.
New Land for a Future Park
Mansfield Parks & Recreation has finalized the purchase of nearly 140 acres of land that will eventually become the city’s largest park. The property is located south of West Broad Street, just southwest of Historic Downtown Mansfield. The site will be a focus of the department’s 10-Year Master Plan, currently heading into the advisory committee stage. The city will evaluate the opportunities for site amenities based on current and future needs, as well as feedback received from the community from the recently completed public meetings and online survey.
“With so much space to work with, we have an opportunity to include a lot of different features,” said Parks and Recreation Director Matt Young. “As the largest park in our inventory, it will likely serve a combination of purposes, including athletic fields, playgrounds, natural spaces and more.”
Conceptual site plans, goals and objectives, a timeline of the process and budget will be part of the master plan and determined over the next 18 months.
“Planning isn’t the most exciting part of the process, and we’re just as anxious as everyone else to get to swing sets up and trails paved,” Young said. “But it’s through the thoughtful, measured planning we can be responsible with our time and resources and ensure we’re doing what’s best for the city in the long run. Just as the 2010 master plan laid out the creation of Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park, the updated master plan will help us incorporate this new property into our inventory and expand recreational opportunities for generations to come.”
The new addition brings Mansfield Parks & Recreation’s total inventory to more than 1,000 acres and represents a big step towards preserving Mansfield’s natural beauty this is part of the city and providing more spaces for residents to play.
Dog Park Approved
Tails are wagging all over Mansfield as the first off-leash dog park has been approved for construction. The park will be located at 604 W. Broad St., on part of the historic Man homestead. The two acres surrounding the home of Ralph Man, one of the founders of Mansfield, will be fenced and restored for future historic preservation use. The remaining property will be fenced for off-leash play by both large and small dogs, who will love the rolling hills and lush trees.
Construction contracts were approved by Mansfield City Council at the May 28 meeting. Work will begin in July with a six-month schedule. Fido might just be getting a new park for Christmas.
Master Plan Enters Next Phase
In April the department completed the first round of registering community feedback for its 10-Year Master Plan, closing the online survey and holding two public meetings and an online town hall. Now the advisory committee will begin a 12-month analysis of the recent data collected, as well as statistics from city historical records, growth projections, trend reports and more.
Work will begin with an analysis of the 2010 Master Plan. In that report, plans were laid out for the renovations and improvements at Clayton W. Chandler Park completed in 2017, bringing the city the first skate park and splash pad. The 2010 plan also included the development of Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park, which was turned from a family farm to the lush educational and environmental landmark residents enjoy today. The committee will examine progress on other elements within the 2010 plan to see areas that need additional attention or goals that can be modified. The committee, which is composed of staff, Mansfield Park Facilities Development board members, former staff, industry representatives and community volunteers, will also break into sub-groups to focus on specific areas, such as athletic fields and future growth.
Also this summer the department is conducting focus groups with stakeholder groups to discuss issues and offer ideas for the master plan. These stakeholders represent specific interests or groups, such as businesses, MISD, senior citizens and more. If you are interested in participating in a focus group, please send an email or [email protected] and staff will contact you if selected.
The advisory committee will combine the research and analysis with survey and focus group feedback to develop a draft plan mapping out goals and objectives for the next 10 years of Mansfield parks. The draft plan is expected to be completed by early fall 2019, at which time it will be presented to the public for a second round of feedback. Updates will be posted on the website, which will also have options to join a mailing list specifically for email updates and a contact form to submit ideas, requests and ask questions.
The final Parks & Recreation Master Plan is expected to be completed and ready for City Council approval by summer 2020.
Admin Building Open
Mansfield Parks & Recreation has a new address, as staff moved into the new administration building this spring. The office, located at 1164 Matlock Road, is adjacent to Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park and houses 19 staff members from both parks and recreation and the Mansfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city department responsible for promoting tourism and cultural arts rooms. The new building features meeting/work spaces and storage for both the parks and recreation department and the CVB. A ribbon cutting and open house was held for city leaders and the community on April 25.