An Integrated Site Plan

Central Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, is destined to become a landmark attraction in the community and the North Texas Metroplex.

Central Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, lives up to the town's name.

The vision for this 172-acre Blackland Prairie site features a 36-acre lake system as a scenic amenity that addresses regional flooding issues, while collecting and cleansing the storm-water runoff from surrounding suburban neighborhoods.

The master plan includes a new public-safety facility and adult-activity center (The Summit) that will anchor the park as a part of the cultural fabric for residents.

Restored prairie and wetland landscapes are the backdrop for numerous recreational and educational opportunities, including planned interpretive opportunities for local students and residents.

Some venues that are anticipated for future development include a mixed-use area that will include food and beverage outlets, retail and neighborhood services, and some residential space.

Other planned amenities include a community recreation center, amphitheater, and an interpretive children’s playground celebrating the history of Grand Prairie and the local environment, regional water park or aquatic facility. An environmental-education or interpretive center could be used to convey the unique story of the park, man’s interaction with nature, and the resulting impact on the local ecosystem.

Maximum Capacity

Previously used for dry-land farming and pasture, the site is located in the central portion of the city, surrounded by light industrial, commercial, and mixed uses, as well as low-density residential. A service road abuts the eastern boundary of the site, and provides vehicular accessibility throughout the region.

The property was acquired by the city in February 2000 for inclusion into the overall city parks and open-space plan. As the neighboring freeway corridor and access roads were developed, it was determined that the existing infrastructure was undersized for the build-out capacity of the regional watershed.

The need for regional storm-water detention was apparent; since this was the only parcel available in the area, its inclusion within the park program became inevitable.

Becoming An Icon

As the city and design team approached the project, the mission was to provide a centralized regional park with “state-of-the-art” design and facilities. However, the inclusion of the detention basins ultimately posed a number of challenges.

The master plan had to evolve in responding to the hydraulic and mitigation requirements and the resulting decrease in land available for active recreation facilities.

Once the engineering parameters for the flood control issues were addressed, the primary goal was to maximize recreational and interpretive potential for the site, and to accommodate the need for new public-safety facilities. An interactive planning and design process changed the perception of the flood control basins into a beautiful series of interconnected lakes and a surrounding boardwalk that unite the various areas with the park.

The master plan and Phase I construction were approached as a partnership with city officials, key stakeholders, the general contractor, and the design team. Numerous discussions were held to sort through issues ranging from recreational opportunities, maintenance requirements, engineering feasibility, aesthetics, and, of course, the budget, in order to create not only a park, but a destination that would be an icon for Grand Prairie.

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