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New Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park Status Near the HNP!

 

Councilmember Darryl Haynes to our HNP in September 2010:  "Although this is in the “dream” stage I want everyone to know that we are finally moving forward with a major park near our homes.  It will be twice as large as Rose Park and will be marketed as a very special natural park that will also help extend the Walnut Creek trails system in the future.  This will be a very special park where kids and adults will learn about some history of Mansfield, natural vegetations, and some very special wonderfully preserved lands - as they were 100 years ago.  This 80-acre stretch of land is located along Mattock and just south of Kings Mill.  I wanted to share this with you and the homeowners as a “snapshot” of what direction the city is going. 

 

City's Park Department message:  The main focus for this facility will be preservation of this unique ecosystem within the City, while providing quality passive recreation and educational opportunities in natural surroundings that residents and visitors will enjoy for generations to come.  This design process will culminate with a new community park with passive recreation and natural educational opportunities in approximately 80 acres along Walnut Creek. In the future, this will be an important part of the very popular Walnut Creek Linear Park.  For questions or concerns please contact the City of Mansfield Parks and Recreation Department at 817-473-1943.

 

Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park will have grand opening on January 25, 2014 that will include nature events!  Check out the park's website for details at  http://www.olivernaturepark.com/ .  See the link below for the latest Mansfield Mirror article dated Dec 2nd that gives a detailed update.  This $3 million first phase that nears completion includes a granite walking trail, bridge over Walnut Creek, two fish-stocked ponds, open amphitheater, creek overlooks, tree house, restroom facility.  The $3 million second phase will be a 2.7-mile concrete trail (12-feet wide) that will extend through this park and make connection to the east at Joe Pool Lake.  This trail system will start design during 2014 and start construction during 2015.  The $7 million final phase-3 may be 4-5 years in the future and would include an 8,000-squarefoot nature education center and a 2,000-square-foot learning lab designed as a classroom with microscopes and equipment for experiments.

 

Grand Opening Brochure for Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park (Jan 25th)  Click here.

 

Latest Mansfield Mirror article about the new Community Park.  Click here for Dec 2, 2013 article.

 

 

Timeline for Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park

 

January 2004:  The MPFDC purchased an 80-acre track of property to serve as a community park and a major trail-head and connection for the continuation of the Walnut Creek Linear Park trail system.

 

August-September 2010:  Staff advertised for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on August 10th and 17th. 15 submittals were received by September 3rd. Staff reviewed the submittals and narrowed down the selection to seven firms for the MPFDC to interview.

 

October-November 2010:  The MPFDC conducted interviews on October 6th and 7th and then directed staff to negotiate a contract for professional design services with Land Design Partners. On October 21st, the City Council and the MPFDC held a joint work session and toured the property. During the work session, the City Council and the MPFDC determined the scope of services for the project. The consultant submitted a proposal including scope of services and design fees based on the input from the joint work session.  The Design Contract was approved in November by the MPFDC and City Council.

January-February 2011:  The consultant and staff held a kick-off meeting on January 4th.  City staff from various departments and the consultant met for a site visit on January 27th to discuss site opportunities and constrains.  The visioning sessions/focus group meetings, held on February 24th, were successful and a lot of information and ideas were produced for the project.  The different focus groups that were interviewed throughout February 24th included;  the Mansfield Historical Society, the MAC Seniors group, MISD, City Staff, Chamber

members, Civic Organizations and Staff from the City of Arlington, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill State Park, NCTCOG, Texas Trails Network, past City Council Members and MPFDC Members.  Also, a community meeting for the public was held that evening.  The Williams family (who sold the 80-acre property to the City) interviews were held on February 25th and each family member shared stories and memories from their past.

 

March 2011:   The benchmarking trip that included tours of nature centers in the DFW metroplex area was held on March 8th.  Members of City Council, the MPFDC, Mansfield ISD staff and City staff toured three DFW metroplex nature centers.  Within each center, ideas and thoughts were shared among the facilities’ staff and the tour group, leading to new knowledge and ideas to implement into the new community park.  Land Design Partners (LDP) submitted the program development summary for the community park master plan to city staff during the last week in March.

 

April 2011Staff reviewed the program development summary submittal during the first week in April and sent back comments and

corrections.  With this information, Land Design Partners (LDP) produced concept development (alternatives) for the new community park for presentation to city staff on April 27th.   

 

May-June 2011On May 24th, a community meeting was held to discuss the two conceptual plans prepared by Land Design Partners (LDP).  LDP also presented the two conceptual plans at a June 1st joint work session with City Council, the MPFDC, and Mansfield ISD.  LDP presented a preliminary master plan (including two conceptual plans) and preliminary budget numbers at the MPFDC budget work session on June 9th.  

 

July-August 2011:  The designer developed a hybrid option (between options A and B).  Click here for the two options.  This proposed final master plan and cost estimate was presented to the MPFDC on July 21, 2011.  This final master plan was presented to City Council on August 8th and approved by City Council on August 22nd.  Click here for the final presentation made to the MPFDC and City Council that recommends a final option and cost estimates. 

 

December 2011:  City Council approved $267,870 for construction documents for Phase I of the new community park.  This would be design plans and specifications that could be used to request construction bids and award a construction contract.  The cost for the first phase is expected to run about $2.9 million and construction could start in January 2013 with the park opening a year later --- all dependent on availability of construction funding.

 

January 28, 2013:  City Council approved $321,000 for a construction management contract for Phase I of the new community park.  This contract will manage the construction of $2.9 million of park improvements, that will include; a small parking lot, restrooms, picnic areas, some enhancements to the existing pond, a nature preserve with seating areas for school field trips and a boardwalk along the edges of the creeks flood plain.  Also, the Walnut Creek Linear Trail will be extended about an eighth of a mile through part of this park. 

 

March 21, 2013 and April 2013:  City Council,  Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation, and the Park Department participated in a ground breaking ceremony for this new community park on March 21st.  Construction has now started by Dean Construction with site work, erosion control, surveying, and log-house demo on site.  Most of the log-house pieces were salvaged for future park use and will be stored off site.  

 

April thru June 2013:  Surveying is complete.  Site grading continues.  The house has been removed.  Slab for the restroom is complete and the walls will start very soon.  The bridge supports are in place and the bridge should arrive by late June for installation.  Supports for the tree house overlook are in place and construction of the tree house overlook should start soon.  Street work continues for the entrance into the park and the sewer line is completed for the park. 

 

July thru November 2013:  The City named the new community park as Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park.  Matlock lane improvements have been completed to serve the park.  The new bridge over Walnut Creek has been completed.  Retaining walls throughout the park has been completed.  The restroom facility is nearing completion.  The spine trail system is complete, while soft surface trails from the spine trail are being constructed.  A new water well is complete and other utility work is still underway.  The outside plaza area and amphitheater is under construction.  The treehouse structure is complete. 

 

January 2013 thru January 2014:  Contractor is finishing out small items and details for the January 25th grand opening for the park.  All the trails are completed.  Parking lot, site furniture, and two maintenance buildings are installed. 

 

Next:  Phase-1 construction will be completed for January 25, 2014 grand opening.  The $3 million second phase will be a 2.7-mile concrete trail (12-feet wide) that will extend through this park and make connection to the east at Joe Pool Lake.  This trail system will start design during 2014 and start construction during 2015.  The $7 million final phase-3 may be 4-5 years in the future and would include an 8,000-squarefoot nature education center and a 2,000-square-foot learning lab designed as a classroom with microscopes and equipment for experiments.

 

Funding SourceHalf-Cent Sales Tax plus future Bond Program propositions or extension of bond debt.

 

City staff contact for this park project Hillary Bueker, Park Planner, 817-804-5788