Weatherford Democrat

July 18, 2013

Parks board OKs Heritage Park plan


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH

A finalized concept plan was approved for Heritage Park by Parks and Recreation board members during Tuesday night’s meeting.

Dunaway Associates Project Manager Elizabeth McIlrath, who had been working with the city to develop a plan for several months, said a lot of good ideas for the plan came out of a public meeting in Heritage Park last month. The ideas for what to have in the park have been noted, including a small amphitheater, a heritage plaza to honor citizens and events that made a notable difference in the community, a dog park, a nature playground where playground equipment blends more noticeably with its park-like surroundings, and others.

As part of developing a concept plan, Dunaway Associates will produce preliminary cost estimates for what has been discussed, according to a staff report. Board members and the city council will then be able to determine what is most important and be able to pay for the projects in phases, McIlrath said.

Parks and Recreation Director Danielle Felts said once preliminary cost estimates are made, which Felts said should be in the next few weeks, the estimates will be brought back to the council for discussion and final approval.

Some of the potential cost of the upgrades is already onsite, Mcilrath said, including trees and utilities.

“Having things like all the beautiful trees for a backdrop and all utilities in place provides for a lot of flexibility in what you want to do,” McIlrath said.

New board member Thomas Moorman said he and his wife frequently used the trails and noted it was “exciting to see this come together.”

McIlrath said she and other Dunaway associates went and looked at other parks in the Metroplex to garner ideas and how things would look in the Weatherford space, which will be divided into two areas separated by Jack Borden Way. Directional signs would direct people on the hike and bike trail to the new additions.

In other activity, funding approval for a concept plan for the proposed Parker County Veteran’s Memorial at Soldier Spring Park was made by the board. Final discussion and potential for the spending of an estimated $17,000 to $20,000 is expected to be decided by the city council in the next few weeks.

Under the proposal, city staff would manage the concept plan. Originally set for a 0.15-acre site at the corner of Eureka Street and Santa Fe Drive, American Legion and VFW members began working with Gold Star Families and the need for a larger site became apparent.

Before construction on the new site could begin, a concept plan needed to be approved. No plan for the new site had yet been brought to the board. 

Felts said after meeting with representatives of all three groups, it was determined that to allow the project to move forward and get the groups more focused on fundraising, city staff would take over management of the plan. Under the proposal, a public meeting would be held to get ideas and suggestions for the memorial, scheduled to be on a 2 1/2-acre site in the park.

Some fundraising for the memorial has already been done in the form of bricks, which would be incorporated into the plan for the new area, Felts said.

“All the groups want a cohesive memorial,” Felts said. “We will have something designed that will fit the area.”