Northeast Tarrant

Phase Next: Bedford eyes November bond election for improvements at Boys Ranch Park

The Bedford City Council is looking at calling a bond election in November for improvements at Boys Ranch Park. “It is the jewel of our community. We need to provide amenities for residents and visitors who come to the park,” said Mayor Jim Griffin.
The Bedford City Council is looking at calling a bond election in November for improvements at Boys Ranch Park. “It is the jewel of our community. We need to provide amenities for residents and visitors who come to the park,” said Mayor Jim Griffin.

City officials are looking at ways to upgrade Boys Ranch Park, where some buildings date to the 1940s and don’t meet current city codes.

Recently, the Bedford City Council met with representatives from Kimley-Horn after the design consulting firm completed a study and made recommendations to bring the park into the 21st century. The plan is called Phase Next and includes ideas for replacing or renovating the senior center and Bedford Splash water park, adding parking and upgrading athletic facilities.

“It is the jewel of our community. We need to provide amenities for residents and visitors who come to the park,” said Mayor Jim Griffin.

Two years ago, Bedford did a complete makeover of Boys Ranch Park Lake, which involved dredging, removing an island that attracted silt and other waste, building a fishing pier and improving drainage.

Voters approved spending $3.2 million in a 2013 bond election on the lake improvements.

Now, the council is looking at calling a bond election for Nov. 7 after meetings are held to get input from residents on what they want to see at Boys Ranch Park.

Cost estimates to make the improvements are $35 million for the indoor facilities and $35 million for the outdoor athletic facilities, but Griffin emphasized that input from the public and council members is needed before decisions are made on what to include in the bond package and on how much it will cost.

A park master plan completed in 2010 called for work to be done in four phases. But, Griffin said, “It became painfully apparent that if we stayed with the four-phase plan, it would take 20 years to complete the work.”

Council members and city staff have toured “multigenerational” recreation centers built in recent years in Grapevine and North Richland Hills, which have demographics similar to Bedford’s.

Kimley-Horn’s recommendations include replacing Onstage in Bedford and the Boys Ranch Activity Center, which date to 1949 and don’t meet current codes. The senior center, built in 1976 and also out of code, is well used but needs more accessible parking. The activity center is also outdated and its gym floor has sloped sides, which city officials said can be dangerous.

Other recommendations include adding an amphitheater, skate park, tennis center and indoor aquatics center.

“The Boys Ranch attracts families, and it is close to the airport. We have to have amenities in order to attract people to live here or visit here,” Griffin said.

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz

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