Grant would fund amphitheater, education pavilion and playground at Farmersville Sports Park
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
FARMERSVILLE – There are a million reasons why the Farmersville Sports Park will become hub for community activity. And as of last week, there are nearly 2 million reasons.
City Manager Jennifer Gomez announced on Oct. 2 that the City of Farmersville has been awarded $1.9 million from the Cultural, Community and Natural Resources Grant Program. Funded through Proposition 68, the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond of 2018, the grant will construct the next phase of the community’s largest park transforming another ½-acre of development a master planned park site into a nature-themed area for recreation, education, and community gatherings.
The amenities will include a first-of-its kind amphitheater for families and friends to gather for small concerts, movies in the park, cultural celebrations, and sports team presentations with tiered seating for approximately 75 people. A Sequoia themed playground for children and adjacent adult exercise stations will allow entire families to enjoy the area. A schoolhouse pavilion with a weather station, tables, and seating for science experiments and presentations will be an ideal outdoor learning space for nearby students at Freedom Elementary and Farmersville High School. Additional picnic tables and shelters will compliment this new area as well.
The City applied for the grant this summer after a meeting on June 11 asking community members for input. Titled the Sequoia Gateway project, an amphitheater will be located in the existing storm water basin. A concrete slate at the bottom of the basin will serve as the stage of the amphitheater along with three ledges (giant steps) for the public to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets for event seating. The amphitheater would provide seating for approximately 75 students or adults.
The project could also include a picnic table area that will provide table space for approximately 42 students or 32 adults with table space. The top ridge of the basin will have a permeable paved surface pad ideal for wheelchairs to have a good view of the stage.
Next to the Sequoia Gateway Area would be a nature-themed playground that will consist of durable and safe playground equipment. The playground area will include a shade canopy, outdoor exercise equipment, a walking path around the playground, and benches.
A schoolhouse pavilion is a center focal point of the project and will provide an ideal space for science experiments, small presentations, and a weather station. It will be ideal for small group outdoor learning opportunities. Farmersville Unified School District teachers and students will have access to these resources; the weather station will have a wide variety of digital measurement tools that will measure earth and atmospheric conditions. Students can monitor this data from inside their traditional classrooms, then explore the natural environment and discuss data fluctuations and make predictions while visiting the park.
“All of these features have been requested by the community, and the City is pleased to provide them under this grant opportunity,” Gomez said.
The northern portion of the park opened on Nov. 4, 2016 when the city held a ribbon cutting for its “Farmersville Canal Parkway and Park Development.” The seven-acre section of the park was planted with 200 trees and 1,000 shrubs, built a half-mile walking trail with a bridge over the canal, added three picnic tables and benches, installed 5 acres of grass for two-full size soccer or football fields and a bioswale to collect rainwater and educate the public about drought landscaping and the area’s cultural and natural history.
The sports park first became part of the City’s parks and recreation vision in 2001 when it purchased about 25 acres of land along Freedom Drive across from Farmersville High School. In all, the City has received $1.3 million of the $3 million needed to complete the entire park project.