New athletic fields, trails, playgrounds, splash pads and other park amenities could be coming to the west side of town on what will be the city’s largest park by far.
Mansfield recently announced the purchase of 138 acres of flat farmland on Hanks Street south of West Broad Street. The city paid $4.3 million for the land.
“We started last summer looking at large tracts of land and identified about a dozen that could potentially work for a large community park,” said Matt Young, director of parks and recreation. “This was the largest tract of all of them. It gives us a lot of flexibility and a lot of amenities.”
No funding has been identified and no decisions have been made on what could be located there. But the purchase coincides with Mansfield’s 10-year park master plan that is going on now. It also comes as major new housing developments are getting ready to start construction in that part of west Mansfield.
“This will become one of the highlights for them,” Young said. “We already have a tract of land that is going to be there as neighborhoods are starting to build.”
The Mansfield Parks and Recreation Department gathered feedback over the last few months and will make recommendations over the summer before the next round of public input in September. They’ll be looking at where parks are needed, where the gaps are and what types of parks are needed in each quadrant of the city, Young said.
With hundreds of new houses coming, new road connections will be needed. Long-term, Retta Road will be extended south to meet with Jessica Drive, which will provide access to the new park from West Broad Street, Barnes said. Other new roads could be built, too.
Don’t expect to see any bulldozers out there anytime soon. Farmers will continue leasing the land for wheat crops, which stretch as far as the eye can see in this western edge of Mansfield.
But imaginations are running wild for what this park could be. Right now, the city’s biggest park is Skinner Sports Complex, which is 88 acres on the city’s east side.
“It’s definitely an exciting day and it’s a blank canvas for us,” Young said.