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Mansfield Parks and Recreation History
In the spring of 1960, a group of volunteers from the Mansfield Jaycees gathered to clean up some vacant City property, building picnic tables, benches and a rudimentary playground using wood donated from the downtown lumberyard. A privately-operated public swimming pool had just opened in the adjacent property, and the residents wanted a place nearby for people to enjoy a picnic, hold community gatherings and relax in what was becoming a hot spot.
Mansfield, Texas, pop. 1300, had just built its first park.
Park development continued steadily in Mansfield after Julian Feild Park was built. The first parks and recreation board was created in the early 1970s to help oversee operations and guide development. The true explosion of growth came after 1992, when voters approved a half-cent sales tax to fund new park development. The Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corporation was formed to manage the new fund. This timed well with the city’s growth, and parks have been added at a regular pace ever since.
In the sixty years since those first picnic tables went up, Mansfield's park system has grown into an award-winning department of over 1100 acres, multiple facilities and public-private partnerships and a thriving recreation program. By understanding and appreciating the past, we can better prepare for and embrace the future.
Do you have a memory or photo of your family in a Mansfield park that you'd like to share? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add it to our collection!
1960: Julian Feild Park
City Park (Julian Feild Park) opens as six-acre space adjacent to the city’s public swimming pool. All amenities (tables, benches, playground) were built by volunteers with the Jaycees.
1976: Clayton W. Chandler Park
Chandler Park opened as a partnership with the school district, who was building the new Mansfield High School. The adjacent property was donated to the city in exchange for the city building and maintaining athletic fields.
1977: James McKnight Park East
McKnight Park East opened as a baseball field on a gravel pit and later became the inspiration for a linear central park spanning the city.
1985: McClendon Park West
McClendon Park West was built in 1985 and named after former city council member McClendon Moody, who was influential in getting the park to serve residents on the west side of the growing city.
1988: Hardy Allmon Soccer Complex
Hardy Allmon Soccer Complex opened in 1987, adding soccer fields where once had been at times both a dump and a rodeo arena.
1988: James McKnight Park West
McKnight Park West was created by community leaders envisioning a central park connecting the city and solicited land donations along Walnut Creek.
1989: Phillip Thompson Soccer Complex
Philip Thompson Soccer Complex turned a water treatment site into lush, green soccer fields dedicated to a former youth coach.
1992: MPFDC and Half-Cent Sales Tax
This 1992 vote by citizens paved the way for the incredible park growth we enjoy today.
1994: McClendon Park East
McClendon Park East was constructed in 1994 via grants and donations as an extension of McClendon Park West, which is connected by a nature trail.
1996: Katherine Rose Memorial Park
Katherine Rose Memorial Park, originally a pecan orchard, was the first park purchased and developed with proceeds from the newly adopted half-cent sales tax and quickly became a community favorite.
1996: Michael L. Skinner Sports Complex
Mansfield Sports Complex (now known as Michael L. Skinner Sports Complex) opened in 1996 and is still the city's home for recreational soccer and baseball leagues.
2001: Mansfield Activities Center
The opening of the MAC brought the city's first recreation facility and programs.
2006: Town Park
Town Park was developed in conjunction with the Walnut Creek Linear Trail project and funded through donations and grants.
2007: Walnut Creek Linear Trail
Walnut Creek Linear Trail was first conceived in the mid-1980s and took years of planning and work by staff and residents before finally opening phase one in 2007.
2011: Donald R. Barg Park
Barg Park was the first acquired under the city's newly adopted Parkland Dedication Ordinance to encourage park growth in tandem with residential development.
2011: Killian and Piedmont Parks
Killian and Piedmont Parks were built with the neighborhood and dedicated to the city through the Parkland Dedication Ordinance
2014: Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park
ONP is the city's only dedicated nature preserve, with over 80 acres of former farmland in the heart of the city.
2016: Lucretia and Gary Mills Park
Mills Park was added in 2016 through Parkland Dedication Ordinance and named for longtime community leaders and volunteers.
2020: Harold M. Bell Park
Harold M. Bell Park opened in January 2020 through Parkland Dedication from the Mill Valley development and is the city's southern-most park.
2020: Mans Best Field Dog Park
Mans Best Field Dog Park, the city's first off-leash dog park, is located on the homestead of Ralph Man, one of the City's founding fathers, and includes 11 acres of rolling hills and heavily wooded play space.
Public Private Partnerships
Mansfield has added six public-private partnerships to its park inventory beginning with Mansfield National Golf Club in 2000.