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Terrain in transition

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The Denton County Southwest Courthouse is taking shape in west Flower Mound. (Photo by Brian Maschino)

Tucked away at the confluence of two towns among the rolling fields near the I-35W corridor in southwest Denton County is the beginning of a building boom.

Drive through the Canyon Falls development on the west side of Flower Mound and it’s easy to see the progress being made on one of the area’s newest master-planned communities.

The most recent addition to the 1,200-acre site is the large and visually-stunning Argyle Middle School that opened in August. The campus sits on the southeast quadrant, adjacent to the railroad tracks and near Highway 377, north of FM 1171.

The school currently includes about 600 students and 60 staff members, who moved over from the previous location next to Argyle High School. Future plans call for the new school to be swapped with the current high school, if district enrollment projections prove correct. Also on the drawing board is the potential building of a new elementary school.

Nearby, Flower Mound’s western operations and maintenance facility is under construction. Its dual purpose is also to temporarily house the Flower Mound Fire Department’s No. 6 station.

Weather delays that slowed construction– and upgrades to Stonecrest Road– meant the 4,800-square-foot facility couldn’t open on time. So, the FMFD and Argyle Independent School District worked out use of a small apartment space in the school to cover daytime needs, plus a spot in the parking lot for one full-sized engine.

Flower Mound Fire Chief Eric Greaser expects the new facility to be open this month, with the fire engine being joined by a brush truck. Current plans call for the temporary station to move eventually to permanent facilities within two-to-three years at a yet-to-be determined site near the school. The permanent facility also will include office space for the Flower Mound Police Department.

Having a fire station in the area is part of a strategy to increase coverage to the western part of Flower Mound.

“Our fire chief does an amazing job of looking for ‘pockets-of-need’ in the community and that area of town has been one that has sorely been underserved,” said Alora Wachholz, Flower Mound’s Economic Development Manager. “The people out there would get service from Argyle or Northlake, so it was something needed long term.”

(Photo by Brian Maschino)

Two other key structures are in different stages of construction. The Canyon Falls Club Amenity Center is on target to open either later this year or early in 2017, while the Denton County Southwest Courthouse is expected to open next year.

The club will feature 6,851-square-feet of space, plus an additional 2,700 square feet in a building adjacent to the outdoor pool. Inside will be a fitness facility with aerobic and free weights, plus a main gathering area for special events. The poolside facility will include concessions and restrooms.

Outside the two buildings will be two playgrounds, a splash pad, the pool and a special event lawn for concerts, movies and other events. Near the club will be the start of 10-miles of paths and trails.

The Denton County Southwest Courthouse will be a place for area residents to conduct most of the same business for which they currently must travel to downtown Denton or Roanoke. The 32,000-square-foot facility will feature offices for the county commissioner, the Precinct 4 constable and multiple departments, plus places to obtain driver’s licenses, passports and other amenities. It is expected to open in the spring.

“It’s going to serve so many people over there,” Wachholz said. “Anyone on the western side of I-35W even would prefer to go there than to go to Denton.”

A town park is in the works as well, with a little over 10 acres recently donated by the developer, according to Flower Mound Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos.

“There has been a concept plan, but nothing is chiseled in stone.  We still need to go through the process of determining what amenities will be there,” said Stathatos. “Some of the residents love the concept plan and some are not happy about it.  We continue to let everyone know that no binding decisions have been made.”

Canyon Falls sits on land under the jurisdiction of two towns – Flower Mound and Northlake. Students attend schools in either the Argyle or Northwest ISD.

“A lot of people are starting to talk about Canyon Falls,” Wachholz said. “I do a lot of trade shows and conferences around the area and the nation and the things people always say are ‘Flower Mound, my brother’s sister’s cousin’s mom lives there.’ And the other thing I get is: ‘what is that development way out west, what is that?’”

Very preliminary discussions have started on the possibility of one additional amenity near the development– a new interchange off I-35W.

Stathatos and Northlake Town Manager Drew Corn are the initial players who would recommend options to the Texas Department of Transportation; the ultimate decider. The location would be important to both communities, because of potential commercial development that could sprout up near the interchange.

So far between 320 and 330 of the eventual 2,100 homes have been built and occupied, according to Tracy Simmons, regional marketing director for developer Newland Communities. Homes will sell between the mid-$200s and the $600s.

“There will be a lot to come in the next 12-months,” Simmons said. “It’s an exciting time. We’re excited to see it come to pass and give people a way to capture nature, which is the thing I’m most excited seeing, because people value that. I’ve learned coming from a different market (Phoenix) that people here love to commune with trees and space and nature.”

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