Stephenville's City Park
The crack of the bat, the patter of little feet on gravel, and the creak of the swing set. All of these things people experience at the City Park.
The past few years the City Park has undergone many changes, big and small. In 1998 Birdsong Amphitheater was built and is now home to Stephenville High School bonfire each year.
The City Park is in phase two of a three-phase program. The first stage was the baseball fields next to the pavilions. Phase two included two pavilions (a one large and small one), a pool, horseshoe pits, two playgrounds, tennis courts, volleyball courts, the amphitheater, a 1.3 mile walking trail, basketball courts, base ball fields, softball fields, and a soccer complex. The park covers approximately 81 acres. Phase three has yet to be disclosed, but park staff are certain that they will expand upon the acreage. A new gym and offices are in order, seeing as though the current one was built in 1936 by the WPA, and is in poor condition. The building has become too small for the quickly growing park and its staff. Two new baseball fields and parking areas are in the works, along with a new aquatics program. Building for the pool should begin in 2003 and be completed by 2004. "It looks good on the blueprints," says Brenda Brown, athletic coordinator, "but you never know how it will really come out."
When people go to the playground behind the pool they will see a few changes. Mounds of dirt and construction surround bright new playground equipment. "Everyone seems happy with the change," says Brown. Mary Wilson, a park visitor, who frequently brings her son, Connor, to the park comments that "I like the fact that the equipment is separated for larger and smaller children. Sometimes it's a little intimidating for Connor to play around children much older and larger than he is.”
The summer activities that are coordinated through the park have been around for 36 years. K.K. Tindol participates in these activities and comments that "They're a good way to not get fat over the summer." Brown also comments that it is a good way to keep kids out of trouble. It also presents parents with an opportunity to know their kids are safe and occupied during the summer while they are off at work.
Surprisingly to some, the park is host to many weddings. Although the scenic gazebo in the center of the park seems the ideal place, Brown says, "People usually just have it under a shady tree, or bring a tent or something."
The Bosque River flows through the front half of the park. Park staff and volunteers have been working furiously to clean it up. You can see the impact that has been made by the wildlife around the river. People have donated ducks that they can no longer care for, to the park, and some wild animals have adopted the park as well. A wild goose and gander explore the riverbanks along with all the ducks. So the park is not only beneficial to the community, but to many different animals as well.
When Brown was asked if there was anything special about the park that she thought was particularly great she said, "The Park is special. I don't think people realize that a great thing they have." So even though the park will go down in Stephenville's history books, it will be in each individual's history as well. Whether it is a wedding, a sport, or just playing on the playground, the park affects many community members and is taking shape and growing along with its surroundings.