I have been your parks director for nearly two years now and I absolutely love working in Highland Village. The parks and trail system here is beautiful. It is very satisfying to see and interact with you as you and your families use our parks system. The staff in the parks department is committed to providing world class customer service, recreation and play opportunities. I enjoy meeting you, hearing your thoughts on the parks and recreations opportunities available here, and sharing information.
I am very excited to share information with you on the upcoming Kids Kastle community build project. A little history, the Kids Kastle play area was designed and built by the community in 1994. Since that time many families have enjoyed playing at Kids Kastle. The structure has reached the end of its useful life and is need of replacement. We are going to include the community again to help us design and build the new play structure. In November 2017 voters approved bond propositions for several parks projects. The approved funding, along with sponsorships from the community, will help us build a new Kids Kastle that will last another 15-20 years.
Here is an update on the progress made so far on the items included in the parks bond projects, what you can look forward to in the near future, and opportunities for you to be involved in the process.
Unity Park – Pond Improvements, Kids Kastle and Softball Field Expansion
Earlier this year the city received a financial gift in the amount of $125,000 from the Highland Village Parks Foundation for entry improvements at Unity Park, specifically the area around the pavilion and in front of Kids Kastle. The addition of the entry improvement project required additional civil engineering to develop a mass grading plan that would include the civil engineering for the pond project to ensure proper drainage of the site. The entry improvements scope includes reconfiguring circulation paths, and the addition of a food truck slip, a storyboard that will provide historical information of the park, and a deck plaza area with seating. The design portion for the pond renovation, drainage improvements, and entry improvements is complete, and the project is currently out to bid. We are anticipating that construction for the project will start sometime later this summer, after the Highland Village Lions Club Balloon Festival. Given all the work that will take place around the pond and pavilion staff saw an opportunity to add the Kids Kastle playground rebuild project into the mix. Adding the Kids Kastle playground rebuild will provide several benefits which include, shorter construction timeline for one big project verses three individual projects, potential opportunities for project cost savings, and one big grand opening for the community.
In the fall, we will start the community engagement process for the Kids Kastle playground rebuild. This will involve a design day kick-off meeting for the community build project. The kick-off meeting will provide the opportunity for children and parents to be involved in the new design. The location of the kick-off meeting will be determined later this summer and shared with the community. We will be contacting LISD in the hopes of using one of the LISD campuses in Highland Village for a meeting place. In the kick-off meeting, the consultant will provide information about their company and details of the community build process, including timeline, recruitment of volunteers and the formation of committee coordinators for construction, food, and tools.
Kids Kastle is home to tiles and fence pickets with the names of Highland Village families. If your name, or your family’s name is on one of these and you’d like it, please contact us at [email protected] Some tiles are in storage and available for pickup now. The tiles and pickets that are part of the Kids Kastle structure will be available for pickup prior to the demolition of Kids Kastle. We will establish a pickup schedule and share on our website, social media and print publications so please watch for that information.
The new softball field construction is underway and going well. All of the major concrete work has been completed, the fence and backstop post are in the ground and light poles are up. We are hopeful that the softball field will be open sometime in September of this year.
Highland Village Road Sidewalk
The alignment of the new sidewalk has been approved by staff and is currently being engineered. The new sidewalk will connect to the existing sidewalk at the Municipal Complex and head east along Highland Village Road to connect to the Copperas Trail adjacent to Wichita Forest Park. The sidewalk will provide critical connectivity to the City Trail for residents that live in the neighborhoods along Highland Village Road between the Municipal Complex and Wichita Forest Park. Engineering for the sidewalk is expected to be completed later this summer.
Victoria Park Walking Path
The Victoria Park walking path alignment has been approved by staff and ONCOR and is currently being engineered. Engineering of the walking path is expected to be completed later this summer.
Brazos Park Parking Lot
We have completed the additional parking lot at Brazos Park.
Sunset Point Park
The Sunset Point Park project is currently in the permitting process with the US Army Corps of Engineers. We are hopeful that construction will start later this summer. The project will take approximately three months (90 days) to complete.
Copperas Branch Park Master Plan – funded in the 2018-2019 Budget
Copperas Branch Park was opened last summer for use after being closed for four years due to the I-35E expansion. Leading up to the park opening and after it was opened city staff has received several requests from residents for a refresh of the park. The city hired and is working with la terra studio landscape architecture firm to master plan the park. The Master Planning process is in full swing, and we have just completed the information gathering process, which consisted of two public input meetings, and online community engagement through SpeakUpHV.com. We have had great engagement from the community both in the public meetings and with SpeakUpHV and to date have gathered over 40 ideas for the park, which we will share with the community soon. The next step in the master planning process is to create a priority list for staff review. The review process will include extensive collaboration in conjunction with the financial feasibility analysis to ensure realistic and implementable program items.
Doubletree Ranch Park
We have just completed the installation of 13 shade structures around the splash pad area at Doubletree Ranch Park. We are installing an inclusive playground just south of the splash pad and will soon have teen/young adult swing set added as well. These amenities will round out the recreation opportunities for the entire family at the park.
We do have a lot happening in the parks and recreation department. Kids Kamp is in full swing, we have Concerts in the Park scheduled for this summer, and many other programs and classes to entertain and educate you and your kids during the summer break. The recreation opportunities, our beautiful parks and trails, and the opportunities to accommodate active lifestyles are one of the reasons people move to Highland Village. If you have questions about these projects or suggestions on how we can improve our parks and trails, please do not hesitate to contact me at 972-317-7430 or [email protected] We are here to serve.