For many people driving down Southlake Boulevard near White Chapel Boulevard meant taking a quick peek at the donkeys living on the piece of land adjacent to First Financial Bank. With the development of the property in the works, the donkeys have found a new home.
When plans for Southlake Commons were brought forward, the developer Sage Group, Inc. and the City Council agreed to place a bronze donkey sculpture near the Southlake Boulevard entrance to commemorate the property’s history.
On June 5, 2018, City Council approved development plans for Southlake Commons to be developed on the property where the donkeys lived. Southlake Commons will include 10 single-story general and medical office spaces on approximately 7.5 acres of land. While plans for the site’s development continue to advance, the donkeys will be moving to a ranchette in Arkansas, and Southlake’s donkeys will become the newest members of the Gardner Family. New owner Sara Gardner is very excited to be welcoming them to her 18 acre home.
“I couldn’t wait for them to get here. I have always loved donkeys,” said Gardner. “The donkeys will have the full run of about six acres.”
It was Gardner’s ties to Southlake that first introduced her to the donkeys. “My best friend and her family moved to Southlake several years ago. I visit often and during my last trip I was asked what my husband and I were going to do with the acreage we purchased a few years ago,” she said. “I mentioned that I really wanted donkeys because I have always loved them. My friend’s daughter casually said they had donkeys in Southlake. I was stunned. I asked if we could go see them. I immediately fell in love with them. Both donkeys came up to us and seemed so friendly. I saw the Real Estate sign and wondered what would happen to these sweet babies if the land sold. I was bound and determined to locate the owner so I could let them know I wanted them if they were to be sold.” And the rest is history.
While the donkeys will no longer be in Southlake and enjoying life at their new home, the bronze sculpture to come will offer a sweet reminder of the gentle souls who once lived there. The City is partnering with Sage Group to bring the piece to life.