Monday, October 22, 2012
Flower Mound celebrates grand opening of new park, plans for Phase II
Discussions toward the skate park and other Phase II components will take place on November 1.
FLOWER MOUND Fort Wildflower is officially open.
Town leaders celebrated the opening of Fort Wildflower on Saturday, as well as various other components to Phase I of Heritage Park of Flower Mound.
The 94-acre park is located on Spinks Road, just west of Garden Ridge Boulevard.
A project that began with an idea years ago when the tract was just a thick area of trees, Heritage Park now gives Flower Mound the first steps of having a signature park located between Bakersfield and Gerault parks.
Phase I includes multi-use trails, a pavillion that has already been rented out for various events, a pedestrian bridge, restrooms and parking spaces.
But Saturday, all the attention was on Fort Wildflower.
A flood of children swarmed the 12,500-foot playground to see its various components.
Fort Wildflower is divided into two sections. One section is for younger children and includes smaller slides, play houses and other components.
Another section is for children a little bit older, and that area includes higher swings, larger slides, etc. The playground also features monkey bars, a firemans pole, a cave area and a draw bridge.
There is also a musical section and a place to play interactive tic-tac-toe.
The nature-themed playground is made from recycled wood fiber products instead of wood.
Another important feature is its accessibility for children of all abilities.
"This is an exciting day for our youth," said Mayor Tom Hayden, who addressed the crowd before officially opening the playground. "They have been patiently waiting for the opening of Fort Wildflower."
Volunteers, which at times reached about 400 per day, spent the week of Sept. 11-15 constructing the playground. Full-time volunteers often worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
Some of the volunteer work included painting the playground components.
"The murals, the paintings and the statues illustrate our appreciation of art," said Mary Kay Walker, who, along with others, coordinated the event.
Hayden recognized all those who helped in the effort, including Norma Krueger, who was the project's leader. Krueger also serves as the Parks, Arts and Library Services (PALS) Board chairperson.
Next up for Heritage Park are Phase II components, which includes botanical gardens, a disc golf park, a duck pond and additional pedestrian trails.
Phase II also includes a dog park. Gary Sims, executive director of community services said the PALS Board will likely put a steering committee together in December to collect input on what the dog park should include. He said the dog park will likely be five acres.
"We want something unique and special," Sims said. "We don't want just an area surrounded by a chain link fence. We want a lot of people to come out to this."
Sims said there an amphitheater is also scheduled for Phase II, though the town is now considering another option since the proposed Lakeside DFW mixed-use project is expected to have one as well. Sims said the town will consider joining forces with Lakeside DFW on one amphitheater, though officials may decide to proceed with one at Heritage Park.
Another possible component that will have some discussion in the coming weeks is the skate park. Originally planned for Heritage Park, officials are now considering constructing the skate park at Westchester Park to make it more centrally located.
The PALS Board will have a public hearing on the matter Nov. 1 at Flower Mound Town Hall.
Phase II components will also include foot paths over a ravine tucked away deep on the park property, just east of the playground.
"We're really excited about that," said PALS Board member Elizabeth Lumpkins. "The purpose of the park is to highlight the natural beauty of Flower Mound. And it is beautiful back there."
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