Sunday, August 14, 2022

Summer fun is not too far from home

Anyone who is new to Flower Mound or just passing through town might be quick to accuse Parks and Recreation director Chuck Jennings of exaggerating about all the supposed upgrades going on around town.

Jennings and his fantastic team have been shouting from the mountaintops for years that major facelifts, renovations, and other cool changes to everyone’s favorite parks and playgrounds were in the works.

While many of those upgrades are now here, others might have seemed too good to be true.

That is until recently, as word began spreading that the summer parks and rec hype train is delivering on its promises — all while creating options for families who now realize that they don’t have to drive or fly out of state for a memorable summer vacation.

With July being Parks and Recreation Month, that hard work is culminating in what many believe will be the best summer ever.

“A lot of folks who live here, and even out-of-towners, are noticing and can’t wait to take advantage because, in many ways, it feels like you’re leaving Flower Mound and are now in your own little world,” Jennings said. “We’re excited about all of it. We have lots to offer and plenty of things to do. There’s something for every demographic.”

He added, “Everything is right here in Flower Mound. You can drive 10 minutes down the road and find what you need.”

So what has changed or been added? That’s where Jennings struggles to figure out where is the best place to start. From the newly-renovated Twin Coves Park to Rheudasil Park, a new park in Canyon Falls, and the always popular Independence Fest, everything is top-tier and one magical experience after the next.

Britinee Cantrell of Springtown camped with her family for a weekend in June at Twin Coves Park in Flower Mound. (Photo by Lynn Seeden/Seeden Photography)

Twin Coves, located on 243 acres on the north shore of Grapevine Lake, is perhaps the Town’s most significant and time-consuming investment. Since 2017, the park has undergone roughly $4.5 million in renovations and now includes 47 campsites broken up into 19 furnished cabins, primitive camping options, and 22 RV slips.

And that’s just for starters. Whether being used for a day trip or overnight use, families can enjoy a variety of other amenities such as picnic areas, a small craft boat ramp, grass volleyball courts, a trail system for hikers and bikers, fishing, paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards, two large pavilions, kayak rentals, and more.

A daily usage fee of $10 per vehicle is required to enter Twin Coves. Annual passes are available to residents for $45 or $75 for non-residents. Annual passes may be purchased at the park gate or office.

Primitive camping is $20 per night. For those who would like the cabin experience, nightly rates start at $130, and there are options that can accommodate anywhere from three to five guests per cabin, depending on which one you choose.

RV sites include full hookups for water and sewer, upgraded 60-foot level concrete pads, and 50-amp electric service.

“You’re away from the city lights and noisy traffic, so it’s perfect for people who just want to see nature, wildlife, and everything else that Mother Nature has for us,” Jennings said. “The Town originally took the park over in 2010 and spent a considerable amount of money and time to make it safe and clean. At that point, it was only open for day users, but we eventually got the extra funding to make it a campground. It’s a place people want to keep coming back to.”

Twin Coves Park manager Brian Vonderlin agreed.

“There are a variety of options depending on what you’re really interested in,” he said. “Some people will come out for the weekend, and even if they live 10 minutes away, they feel like they’ve retreated to a different state. The scenery is great, and the camping allows you to enjoy nature without traveling too far.”

With as much as Jennings and his team did to renovate Twin Coves Park, it’s really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what residents and visitors have to look forward to this summer. Flower Mound is now home to over 60 miles of hike and bike trails and 57 different parks. Many have been here for years and recently received upgrades. Others are brand-new.

Rheudasil Park, a 10-acre park named after Flower Mound’s first mayor, has been undergoing renovations for over a year now and will celebrate its re-opening with a ribbon cutting in July. The upgrades include a lighted boardwalk, fishing pier, enhanced landscaping, and a pavilion to go with a basketball court, restrooms, improved sidewalks, and a trail.

Later this summer, the new Canyon Falls Park will open as an additional recreational amenity for residents in the western portion of town. The park will include a basketball court, splash pad, trails, fitness equipment, a pavilion, and playground equipment.

“We always try to replace or upgrade our playgrounds every 15 to 17 years to account for the latest trends and safety requirements,” Jennings said. “And one of the focuses is to give all of them a theme. For example, Grand Park will have a schoolhouse theme to it, and Peacock Park will have a peacock theme with vibrant colors. It takes a great team to make all of this happen for our residents.”

For more information on what the Flower Mound Parks and Recreation Department offers, visit www.flower-mound.com/parksandrec.

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