With the start of the new year, several new improvements to the city of Waxahachie’s park system are coming online for the public to enjoy.
Assistant Parks and Recreation director Gumaro Martinez said crews have been working diligently despite battling wet weather conditions throughout the year.
“In Chapman Park, we have erected all of the pavilions, the archway signs, and the flagpole was recently installed,” he said. “We are to the point that we are doing a lot of the detail work such as the stonework columns for the pavilion bases and sign bases.
“The bridge is about 90-percent complete,” he said. “We have put some new railings up and some new ramps for the bridge.”
Martinez noted that the work in Chapman park started about this time last year, with the city experiencing a lot of rainfall in the following months. There were close to 60 rainout days along with the holidays, which has caused the project to move slower than anticipated, he said.
Park staff met with the contractor about a week and a half ago and it is anticipated the majority of the work will be done by the end of January, he said.
Little Creek Trail
Work is moving along on the Little Creek Trail project, which will serve as the new pedestrian connector within the city of Waxahachie.
The trail will connect several parks, Global High School on Indian Drive and businesses on U.S. Highway 77. Features along the trail include disc golf tee pads, benches, bench shelters and trailheads.
“A lot of progress has been made on Little Creek Trail in the last month and a half,” Martinez said. “The weather has been holding up quite nicely. We hope to have that finished out by the end of this month, maybe early February.
“It has been a lot of detailed work,” he said. “The main portion of the trail is already laid out. We had a couple of setbacks with the portion behind Gingerbread Village because of design changes. That is why there has not been much progress in that section.”
The city’s newest park, Railyard Park, has been impacted by the weather as well causing the completion to be pushed back twice. The $3.3 million project includes an amphitheater, music-themed playground, splash pad and picnic area.
“Lots of progress being made on Railyard Park, the city’s newest park and amphitheater,” a recent official city Facebook post read. “Substantial completion is expected by the end of January, with an official opening to be announced for this spring.”
Upon completion, the venue will hold about 770 people in terraced seating, with room for about 1,900 across the entirety of the space, including the plazas, picnic and play areas. Funding for the project came from the Waxahachie Community Development Corporation at $2.3 million and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone at $1 million. Both the WCDC and the TIRZ serve to fund projects that maintain or improve the quality of life for residents.
The park is located at 455 S. College St. and is across from the MKT train depot in downtown Waxahachie.
Other Park Improvements
Parks and Recreation director John Smith said improvements have been made at the Waxahachie Sports Complex, Penn Park, Boat Dock Park, Spring Park, Lions Park and Oak Lawn Park.
“We have a brand-new playground at the sports complex that has a really cool sports theme,” he said. “It is a new playground replacing the old one that had become old and outdated. We kept the shade cover. The previous playground had been in place since the complex opened in 2000.
“We have also ordered new equipment for Boat Dock Park,” he said. “It is in production right now, so we are hoping to have a new playground there very soon.”
At Oak Lawn Park, the improvements included the installation of a covered pavilion and a new surface for the basketball court. The old surface was removed because it had developed a slope on it. While the court was still usable, it was unsafe due to the potential tripping hazard, Smith said.
The second phase at Lee Penn Park on Getzandaner Street was completed, which included renovations to the existing football fields, baseball fields, lighting and a new restroom facility. The city is looking at a third phase of improvements for Lee Penn Park that could include additional parking and a facelift to the pool.
Martinez said new LED lights for the soccer fields were installed at Lions Park, replacing outdated ones. He noted these improvements will help people to utilize the field better. Additional irrigation was added there as well.
Additional landscaping will be installed at Spring Park to complement the new parking and driveway areas, fencing and new restroom facility, Smith said. Also, a new restroom facility is going to be added to George Brown Plaza, which is heavily used by families due to its splash pad.
Bringing the Community into the Parks
The Chautauqua Auditorium in Getzendaner Park was recently upgraded with a new sound system, projector and screen. To make use of those upgrades the city is hosting a free movie each month.
“We want to see the building used – because that is what happened to it back in the 1970s,” he said. “It was not being used and was starting to deteriorate. We are going to try to do the first Friday of every month but there are going to be some Fridays where there are going to be holidays or other scheduled events.
“So, keep a lookout on the Chautauqua Preservation Society’s Facebook page for dates, times and movies that are coming up,” Smith said. “We hope to incorporate some trivia games, some costume contests. Just whatever the movie is, we will try to think of some theme or game to make it fun. We will have the concession stand open with some popcorn and soda pop. We will try to make it a cool event out of it.”
For more information about the city’s parks, park improvements or park events go to the city’s website at www.waxahachie.com, select the departments tab and click on Parks and Recreation. Parks staff can be reached at 469-309-4270.