In the expanse of far north Fort Worth, the city is $1 million closer to developing a new large park in an area where it is sorely needed.
The city recently received a state grant to develop Alliance Park, an approximately 165-acre playground that was already being planned in the northern reach of the city in a partnership with Hillwood Properties.
Athletic fields are the primary driver for the proposed park, which will be located south of Texas 114 and east of Interstate 35W, not far from Texas Motor Speedway.
“With the growth in the area, now is the time to build the big ballparks,” said Hillwood senior vice president Robert Folzenlogen. “Many of the residents who are right now having to drive [all around Dallas-Fort Worth] for games, they need to be able to do that closer to home.”
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Though the city and Hillwood have been planning this park for several years, the first phase isn’t expected to be finished until about December 2018.
The park will also feature trails, pavilions and other amenities.
Since Alliance Airport was built in 1989, the Alliance Corridor has evolved into its own city with a vast mix of commercial, retail, residential, schools and hospitals.
Just this week it was announced that Amazon.com will build another fulfillment center in far north Fort Worth, with plans to employ than 1,000 people. Amazon already has one such facility in nearby Haslet. Facebook is building a data center in the area and residential neighborhoods continue to sprout; in the past 15 years more than 43,000 houses have been built in and around the Alliance Corridor.
The corridor, which stretches from Northeast Loop 820 north along I-35W to Texas 114, has an estimated population of 250,000, most of it within Fort Worth.
David Creek, assistant director for Fort Worth’s Parks and Recreation Department, said a community park is something the city and residents agree is much needed.
There are many small neighborhood parks throughout the Alliance area, but the closest large community parks are the new Northwest Community Park, near Blue Mound Road and U.S. 287; North Park, a joint facility with the YMCA on North Beach Street; and the Arcadia Park chain, off Basswood Boulevard.
Bluestem Park, 14 acres of restored prairie featuring hike and bike trails, will open May 7 at Alliance Town Center, at the northeast corner of I-35W and Heritage Trace Parkway.
Folzenlogen said Hillwood is providing the land for the park and that the grant money will go toward the park’s amenities.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awarded more than $10 million in 2016 Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants to local parks around the state, and $1 million went to Fort Worth for Phase 1 of the Alliance Park. The city will seek two additional grants for the second and third phases of the park during the next two years.
The first phase of Alliance Park, which officials say will be one of the largest in the city, includes parking areas, trails and three athletic fields. Creek said that as it stands now, the city expects to finish the second phase about a year after Phase 1 is done, and the third phase a year after that.
The 2016 Urban Outdoor Recreation Grant program is funded from the sporting goods sales tax and previously allocated Land and Water Conservation Fund revenues, both of which have had the benefit of the Fort Worth City Council’s legislative support.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.