The creation of new parks and recreation facilities will be up for a vote during the City’s bond election on May 7. The proposition contains $27 million in parks projects, including a new recreation and athletic center, new and expanded parks, and land acquisition for future parks.
The new recreation and athletic center would be the centerpiece of Rowlett Creek Community Park, a new park to be built with bond funds along W. Exchange Parkway between Alma and Ridgeview. The center would feature a fitness facility, an indoor sports turf field, indoor courts, classroom and programming spaces and community rental space. The facility would be Allen’s first recreation center built west of U.S. 75, offering 90,000 to 120,000 square feet of recreation space.
Watters Branch Community Park, which is currently under construction, would receive additional features if voters approve. The park is expected to open in 2017 with adult softball fields and a playground. The extra money would allow the City to add open play fields for soccer, football, rugby, lacrosse and cricket. It would also create more parking, a maintenance facility and connections to surrounding trails.
One of the most unique projects involves the transformation of Molsen Farm. The City would spend $3 million to upgrade Allen’s last working farm with community gardens and an environmental education center, located along Greenville Avenue near Chaparral. Land acquisition for future parks would also be funded through the bond.
The selected projects are the result of a massive community effort to identify potential capital improvements. More than a hundred residents participated in meetings and facility tours in late 2015, guided by a citizen-led steering committee. City staff members were on hand to answer questions and offer expertise, but final project recommendations were left up to residents.
The parks and recreation projects will be listed as Proposition 2 on the May 7 ballot. Early voting runs April 25 through May 3. The bond election also includes separate propositions for public safety, streets and drainage, public art, and a library expansion.