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Highland Village gets millions for park improvements

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Highland Village will receive a tidy sum from the Texas Department of Transportation to replace a park that will be out of service during the expansion of I-35E.

At their meeting on March 26, the Highland Village City Council approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to accept $3.5 million in park mitigation fees to make up for the loss of Copperas Branch Park during the I-35E widening project.

The 74-acre park, which the city leases from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is on the south side of Lewisville Lake adjacent to I-35E and is used for recreation, special events and leisure activities.

Based on the lost revenues at Copperas Branch Park, the Corps of Engineers requires a portion of the funds, $641,834, be utilized for Corps leased areas which include Copperas Branch Park or Pilot Knoll Park.

The city plans to use the remaining $2.8 million, along with the approved proposal to issue certificates of obligation in the amount of $6 to 7 million this fall from the city’s 4B sales tax revenue, for the development of Doubletree Ranch Park.

“We were able to work with TxDOT to receive these funds which we can use for improvements to public land within the same basin as Lake Lewisville. Now we can combine this with the funds from our 4B sales tax to move forward with the full design and construction of Doubletree Ranch Park,” said City Manager Michael Leavitt.

The Highland Village City Council purchased the Doubletree Ranch property in June 2009 after a developer’s failed proposal to build a high-density housing project on the site.

“We’re going to get a better park in place of a park. It is a good deal for the city,” said Mayor Pat Davis.

Council approved a contract services agreement with Schrickel, Rollins and Associates, Inc. for the design and construction of Doubletree Ranch Park. The 37-acre park will include soccer fields, a pavilion, walking trails and a natural habitat viewing area.

Another feature will be a 700-foot long pedestrian bridge that connects to the DCTA Light Rail Station on I-35E.

The Doubletree Ranch Park improvements are estimated to be completed in spring 2015.

Davis said that in addition to the new and improved Doubletree Ranch Park, the city will get Copperas Branch Park back at some point in the future.

“Eventually when I-35 is completed, we will be getting Copperas Branch Park back and it will be restored to what it is today.”

 

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