Donation to fund new playground equipment at Bunche Park

A redeveloped Bunche Park in Stop Six will include new playground and fitness equipment designed for children and adult residents.

North Texas Healthy Communities, a nonprofit organization that is part of Texas Health Resources, in partnership with CBS EcoMedia and Blue Zones Project Fort Worth, donated $86,768 to buy and install playground and fitness equipment in Bunche Park, 5600 Ramey Ave.

The donation supports the tenets of the Blue Zones Project of moving naturally, encouraging social connection and putting families first. The equipment will provide children and adult residents of Stop Six with new ways to improve their health and well-being, fulfilling the missions of North Texas Healthy Communities and Blue Zones.

The equipment is a specially designed set of low-medium-high-degree exercise units. The equipment addresses the physical, cognitive and socialization exercises needed to perform everyday life activities for children and seniors.

Playground installation is scheduled to be completed in August 2018.

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Waverly Park claims $1,000 prize for fitness efforts

Students at Waverly Park Elementary School won first place in the 2017 Mayor’s Challenge.

Children at Fort Worth elementary schools joined with FitWorth to participate in the challenge this year. Price encouraged kids to practice healthy habits by tracking their daily physical activity minutes, servings of fruits and vegetables, servings of water and minutes spent reading.

Waverly Park received a check for $1,000 to be used for new physical education and recess equipment to promote an active community. Mayor Price and FWISD Superintendent Kent Scribner stopped by to celebrate with the students.

The mission of FitWorth is to empower children and families to make healthier choices through educating, connecting and moving together.

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Additional land acquired for Mosier Valley Park

The City Council voted to acquire an additional acre of land to expand a city park in Mosier Valley, the historic community where the first freed Texans settled after news of the Emancipation Proclamation spread across the nation.

Mosier Valley Park is currently under construction. Amenities will include a playground, trails, shelter, benches, picnic tables, multiuse court and security lighting. The park will be accessible to the neighborhood and have an interpretive commemoration or historical designation area.

The city will pay $73,120 plus closing costs for the additional land at 11304 Mosier Valley Road.

“The establishment of Mosier Valley Park has been a wonderful vehicle that is unifying the community,” District 5 Councilmember Gyna M. Bivens said. “I will never forget the outdoor meeting we convened to show the community how they could participate in acquiring displays to be used at the park. I was literally blown away when we had a formal community meeting. Within 15 minutes, the crowd was at capacity, filling every seat at the historic St. John Missionary Baptist Church. We knew we were on the right track.”

“I commend city Park & Recreation workers who have embraced this project with respect and sensitivity,” Bivens said. “Considering the fact this location is where the first freed slaves settled in Texas, I am confident it will be one of the state of Texas’ destination spots.”

Mosier Valley was established in the 1870s on the north bank of the Trinity River just south of Hurst, Euless and Bedford, according to the Texas State Historical Association. It was founded by Robert and Dilsie Johnson and 10 other emancipated slave families.

Trinity River bottomland was given and sold to the freedmen by the Mosier and Lee plantation families, and the families established a close-knit farming community.

The heyday of Mosier Valley was from about 1910 through the 1930s. During this time it reached its peak population of perhaps 300. The area was annexed by Fort Worth in 1963.

In 2014, the City Council approved acquiring about four acres of land on the south side of Mosier Valley Road and west of Vine Street and Knapp Street from the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District and Tarrant County to build Mosier Valley Park.

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See the plan for an expanded Fire Station Park

A year ago, concerned residents gathered to share their vision for an expansion of the Fire Station Community Center at 1616 Hemphill St. in a multiday workshop. After the workshop, a survey continued to collect more public feedback.

Among the elements receiving the strongest support were a skate park, dog park, flexible spaces for farmers’ markets and public events, interactive features for all ages and well-shaded areas for relaxing.

Now it’s time to reveal a concept plan for the expanded park, prepared by consultants at Project for Public Spaces.

Review the draft plan and share your feedback at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at Fire Station Community Center, 1601 Lipscomb St.

About the project

A coalition of community groups has been working for more than two decades to promote improvements along Hemphill Street and throughout the Southside. Efforts are underway to design and program a vacant parcel at Hemphill Street and Maddox Avenue that would add more than an acre to the existing Fire Station Park and integrate a seamless experience across both parcels into a combined community space.

In addition, last year’s Envision Hemphill workshops generated hundreds of responses showing strong support for protected bike lanes, safer crosswalks, on-street parking for retail and other street design elements.

HDR Engineering has made progress on “rightsizing” plans to reconfigure Hemphill between Vickery and Hammond streets. Plans should be completed in the coming months. The next step is to secure funding to install new markings and schedule street resurfacing, possibly in the first or second quarter of 2018.

The park improvements will not happen as fast, however. There will be additional design steps required between the public meeting and the start of any construction. The city has already allocated funding for the park’s final design and a first phase of improvements.

If you are unable to attend the public meeting, share your ideas for the expansion of Fire Station Park with Joel McElhaney or Mike Brennan.

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Park board approves new name for Jefferson Davis Park

The Fort Worth Park & Recreation Advisory Board voted unanimously to change the name of Jefferson Davis Park to Parque Unidad/Unity Park.

The name change must go before a vote of the City Council. The item is currently scheduled to be presented on Dec. 12.

Community members suggested in an online petition that the park be renamed Parque Unidad/Unity Park. At its September meeting, the board asked city staff to expedite the renaming process.

The 8.6-acre neighborhood park, 4001 Townsend Drive, was named Jefferson Davis Park in 1923 after the president of the Confederacy.

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Fort Worth, Vaqueros collaborating on improved soccer facility at Sycamore Park

The City Council voted this week to work with the Fort Worth Vaqueros, an amateur American soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League, to repurpose tennis courts at Sycamore Park and renovate them into a youth-sized synthetic surface soccer field.

The tennis courts at Sycamore Park were installed in 1915, had fallen into disrepair and were seldom used.

The renovation project calls for removing the existing tennis nets and posts, installing a drainage pad system, synthetic turf, new posts, chain link fence, access gate, player benches and a scoreboard.

The city’s Park and Recreation Department will share maintenance costs with the Vaqueros. The city will be responsible for all costs associated with repurposing and renovating the tennis courts, up to $183,700. Any cost above that will be covered by the Vaqueros.

The fields will eventually be used as part of a youth soccer academy operated by the Vaqueros for children aged 7-12.

To learn about programming at the facility or how to get involved, contact Mark Snell, Fort Worth Vaqueros academy director, at 214-642-3447.

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Riverside Park excavation completed

All excavation and dirt work has been completed at Riverside Park as finishing touches are being made on the yearlong project. The Riverside Park River Connect Plan provides needed flood control and makes way for future park improvements.

Park users can expect a new parking lot with easy trail access and a new kayak launch along the river’s edge. The park will also be ready for improved soccer fields.

The Trinity River Vision’s River Connect Plan will provide enhanced flood protection throughout Fort Worth. The plan was adopted in 2010 as the master plan for Riverside Park.

Work is expected to last through September.

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