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Denton Begins Talks With Residents On A New Park

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Denton City Parks and Recreation officials held their first virtual public meeting to discuss development plans for Southwest Park, a 200-acre site at the corner of South Bonnie Brae Street and Allred Road. The proposed park is part of the city’s master plan.

Residents explored options with staff and consultants from Teague Nall and Perkins, Inc., an architecture planning firm. They also filled out a survey that prioritizes outdoor and indoor features, such as bike trails, a music venue, wifi, parking, trees and more. 

Denton residents are encouraged to take the surveyStay updated for more meetings by the Denton Parks and Recreation.

There’s no funding for the proposed park yet. It will likely require a bond program, said Gary Packan, director of Denton’s Parks and Recreation. 

“It may not be done at one time, a park this size, it may be broken down in phases as well,” Packan said. “So the process that we are going through right now is really the foundation for what will happen in the future.”

In 2019, Denton parks and rec administered a Public Input Needs Assessment Survey as a part of the new master plan. At that time, 57 percent of respondents said their number one priority was a cardio fitness room in a recreation center. 

But a Denton resident who lives on the more rural east side of the proposed park was not in favor of this approach.  

“I’m very much in favor of keeping the park as a rural oasis for Denton as much as possible, instead of building an LA fitness center with a Disneyland attached,” said Don Barlow. 

Parks officials said trees could play an important part in the park’s plan to try and balance out new development in the growing city. The existing trees in the park area are relatively short-lived, and the officials would like to grow and introduce more Oak trees, which have a longer lifespan. 

A Denton mother was among the 57 residents who participated. She expressed concerns about the park’s new timeline. The resident, who didn’t give her name, said she and her daughters go the park about three times a week.

“We are heavy park use people and we moved to the city for the benefit of parks because we moved from a rural area into an area where we thought we were going to have parks,” she said. “And here, we have to drive just like we did before to get to a park.”

Packan said it could take at least five years to build the park, and its development may be broken down into phases. The COVID-19 pandemic could slow the process of bond meetings, he said. 

The parks department’s goal is that every resident should have no more than a 10-minute walk to reach a park. So far, that’s true for about 47 percent of the city. In America, about 100 million people don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of their home. 

The city will spend several months collecting surveys and seeking input. The results will be used to create a design concept. 

And share your thoughts about public art:

  • September 3, 6 p.m. — Members of the Public Art Committee host a virtual meeting for input on two art projects. To receive a link to the zoom meeting, email parksnrec@cityofdenton.com at least 24 hours in advance.

Got a tip? Email Mia Estrada at mestrada@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @miaaestrada.

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