Southlake is recognized near and far as being an exceptional community for its schools, housing, commercial development and quality of life. With an award-winning master plan to guide its progress, Southlake provides an abundance of recreational amenities including parks, trails, open space, athletic fields and public facilities for seniors, tennis and a nature center. However, one notable item missing from the city’s portfolio and on citizens’ “wish list” is a central gathering place for all ages to use, as well as host community events and private functions.
What most people may not realize is that a community recreation center (CRC) has been on city leaders’ radar for many years and in the Parks Master Plan since 1996. A lack of funding and designated space to build it were the primary challenges. The need for a CRC became a top priority when it was frequently cited in the 2009 and 2011 citizen surveys. As a result, City Council and staff began working diligently to make the CRC a reality without requiring a tax increase for residents.
In August 2013, City Council put the plan into action when it approved $1.72M to design phase 1 of the CRC, which will encompass over 20,000 square feet and include a new home for the Southlake Senior Center, events hall, multi-purpose event space, catering kitchen and an outdoor amphitheater. Located in Bicentennial Park, the site plan was approved at the June 3 City Council meeting and the next big step is a ground breaking ceremony in early September with completion estimated for late 2015.
An important consideration in building any new public facility is cost. Phase 1 has a price tag of approximately $14M, which is already fully funded with cash that has been set aside for this project since 2009. When complete, the CRC will be the city’s largest public facility at 105,000 square feet, as well as the most expensive with the current planned budget at $46.5M. It is important to note there will be no increase in taxes to construct or operate the facility.
According to Chris Tribble, director of community services for the City of Southlake, several surveys have been conducted to gauge interest in the project and solicit input as to the types of services and programs offered.
“While we are just now unveiling the community recreation center, we have been working on it for a while and taking citizen feedback into consideration every step of the way,” confirms Tribble. “We have also looked at several other facilities across the nation for ideas, but this one will definitely reflect the community’s character and high quality design standards.”
The CRC will be in good company at Bicentennial Park which is currently in Phase 2 of a multi-year capital improvement project that includes a new playground, Texas Rangers Miracle League Field, 60/90 baseball field, new concessions/restroom facility, enhancements to the original baseball 4-plex, park boulevard connection to White Chapel Blvd, a new Park Maintenance Facility, parking, trails, enhanced landscape and irrigation improvements including a new water well.
“I think people are really going to enjoy coming out to this location with top-notch facilities,” said Mayor John Terrell at the June 3 City Council meeting.
Because of the magnitude of the project, the CRC will be built in phases and has a multi-year development timeline:
For more information about the Southlake Community Recreation Center, visit www.SouthlakeCRC.com.