Parks and recreation are all about enjoying the good parts of life, getting outside, and learning to play for fun. Those who choose a career in community services care deeply about providing services that allow our community to do the things they love the most.
July 21 is Park and Recreation Professionals Day, and we couldn’t let it go by without celebrating the world-class individuals who live out the work-hard, play-hard mentality every day. Throughout the month, we’ve been highlighting the different divisions that make up the Community Services Department, and today we are diving into the public service motivation that keeps our team at the top of their game daily.
When you work in the largest department in the city, it can be hard to stop and reflect on the incredible work your colleagues do, and we occasionally get siloed in our individual responsibilities. However, we know each team member is vital to fulfilling our mission of creating world-class experiences for our residents. On this Park and Recreation Professionals Day, we paused to ask one of our teammates what he loves most about his job.
Here’s what our Athletics Coordinator had to say:
“What I like about working in Parks and Rec is watching the kids I used to interact with as a counselor/attendant level grow up, develop their skills, and see them thrive in our programs and leagues. It’s even better when they remember me and they talk to me about how school is going or how much fun they are having in their sport. Seeing them enjoy themselves in our programs and leagues lets me know that we are doing the best job that we can for them and our community!” Luis Marquez, Athletics Coordinator
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thank you to everyone in the Community Services Department. We’re lucky to be surrounded by world-class parks and recreation professionals who help our community grow every day!
The City of Southlake’s Community Services Department celebrates Park and Recreation Month this July with the theme “Where Community Grows.” This month plays a vital role in building strong, vibrant, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation.
Southlake’s Community Services Department boasts world-class parks and recreation professionals dedicated to helping our community grow! Park and Recreation Month, an initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is about shining a light on the positive impact of public parks and recreational services on their community. It’s time to celebrate how our Southlake community grows all month long.
We will highlight participants and staff from all our Community Services divisions during July. You can see the essential services, and the people who provide them, by following our social media page @experiencesouthlake.
To help celebrate Park and Recreation Month further, the Community Services Department put together a Parks and Recreation calendar of events. There is a highlighted activity for Southlake residents and visitors to do with their friends and family every day in July. July is always a blast with many world-class activities!
Summer is the busiest time of year for Parks and Recreation professionals because it’s the best time for families to spend time outside doing what they love!
Nothing beats a lazy day lounging by the pool, exploring a new playground, or training for the Fall Athletic season during the summer months. However, Southlake summers can be unforgiving, and practicing summer safety is crucial.
Here are a few summer safety tips to keep in mind as you get out and explore our incredible recreation amenities this summer.
Dress for Success
Our Southlake residents are always fashionable, but it’s imperative to remember to dress for the heat. Styling light colors is a great way to reflect harmful sun rays while keeping cool. Add some light layers made of breathable fabric for added sun protection. Dress for success when you visit our world-class Southlake parks and playgrounds! Don’t forget to snap a “fit pic” for the gram!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Don’t forget to drink water when spending time outside! Drinking enough water is vital any time of the year, but it is essential when it’s hot. Start your day with a glass in the morning and add another to every meal. Grab a fun reusable bottle to take to the pool, the playground, and the winding trails of the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve. Our Parks professionals always carry extra water around, and you should too!
Timing is Everything
The summer days are long, and the number of fun activities is endless. If spending time outdoors is part of your daily routine, adjust your schedule to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Early mornings and evenings are the best time of day to schedule a tennis or pickleball match with friends, walk your dog, or take your little one to the park! Mid-mornings to early afternoons can be the hottest hours of the day. Beat the heat during that time by checking out Champions Club and enjoying our indoor Aquatics Center!
Apply and Reapply
Finally, apply sunscreen! Your skin is your biggest organ, so show it some big love this summer by generously applying sunscreen when you go out. Sweat and water can limit the benefits of sunscreen, so make sure you reapply every two hours for maximum protection.
There are many ways to stay cool and safe in Southlake this summer. Remember these tips, and you’ll create many life-long memories!
This week on Minute with the Mayor, get the low down on our newest beautification project for the Bicentennial Park playground!
Director of Community Services Chris Tribble and Parks Manager Mike Reasoner gave a rundown of the project, including timelines and details of what is to come.
Director Tribble mentioned that a section of the playground at Bicentennial Park will soon be replaced with artificial turf. This area has already been poured with concrete to accommodate any winter weather we may experience.
The artificial turf will allow our youngest Southlakers to play safely regardless of weather conditions. “The playground is heavily used, and with the foot traffic we’ve had to maintain, it’s just a muddy pit down here,” said Reasoner.
The project should not cause closures to the surrounding areas of the park, but there is a chance that the playground may close when the installation nears the sidewalk.
Reasoner mentioned cones, barricades, and caution tape would be used to keep safety in mind for residents. In addition to the turf installation, shade structures and planter beds will be added to the playground. A seating wall by the small slide has already been completed.
Stay tuned for updates on this project as we move forward in 2023! To watch the full episode of Minute with the Mayor, click below.
The City of Southlake’s Park Division is proud of the gorgeous community parks that make up our community’s green spaces. No park represents our city’s commitment to world-class public spaces for personal enjoyment more than our first and largest community park—Bicentennial Park.
Southlake residents and visitors stroll through the beautifully maintained trails at Bicentennial Park daily. From baseball practice and tennis classes to playing in the playground and walking through the Liberty Gardens, there is a unique spot for everyone at Bicentennial Park. But what makes this award-winning space so incredible?
Let’s get to know more about Bicentennial Park!
Bicentennial Park is a community park comprised of the first land assembled for park purposes in Southlake, with initial purchases and donations beginning in the 1970s. As the city acquired additional land, the park became the center of athletic facilities for Southlake.
Today, Bicentennial Park remains the heart of recreation in Southlake. Boasting various baseball and softball diamonds, a basketball court, the Southlake Tennis Center, a Miracle League, a playground, and our award-winning recreation facility, The Marq Southlake, Bicentennial Park is a world-class example of professional park planning.
While the temperatures are dropping, December is still a fabulous time to visit Bicentennial Park. Grab your hat and bundle up your kiddos for an afternoon of imagination at the Bicentennial Park Playground! Warm up with a brisk walk down the trails with your four-legged friends! If you prefer to spend your free afternoons indoors, check out the two indoor courts at the Southlake Tennis Center or work out at Champions Club at The Marq Southlake.
What’s your favorite feature at Bicentennial Park?
It wouldn’t be Parks and Recreation without the incredible Parks team that keeps our award-winning parks system looking world-class!
Our Parks Crews rise for Parks and Rec as they are the early birds that get to work when many of us are still catching some zzzzs. In the heat of the summer months, our friends at Parks are up at 6:30 AM keeping our favorite outdoor gathering spots clean, green, and safe! In celebration of Park and Recreation Month, we want to take some time to highlight the incredible services our Parks Crews provide our community.
Our Parks team does a lot to serve our community. They manage over 1,100 park acres, including city-wide beautification, contract management, field maintenance, facility utilization agreements, event support, and working with our Athletic Associations. With only so many hours in a day, how does the Park team keep our City looking so beautiful?
The Parks Division focuses on the highest level of customer service to create a world-class experience by providing a safe, secure, and aesthetically beautiful parks system for all. Our staff consists of different Parks Crews organized by location and specialized skills. Each Crew oversees specific parks to ensure our residents create lifelong memories.
Here’s the breakdown of our incredible Parks Crews:
North Park, Bob Jones Park, and Bob Jones Nature Center Crew
You can find this team on the North side of town. You’ve experienced the dedication of this Crew if you’ve ever enjoyed a softball tournament at North Park, hiked the trails at the Bob Jones Nature Center, or taken your furry friend to Boo Boo’s Buddies Dog Park!
Bicentennial Park Crew
This Crew spends their days close to home in the largest community park in Southlake– Bicentennial Park! They take care of everything within this park, including the playground, Tennis Center, Liberty Gardens, and the soon-to-be Pickleball Complex.
Southlake Sports Complex, Neighborhood Parks, and Facilities Crew
Travel any direction in Southlake and you’ll run into this Parks Crew. This is the team in charge of the Southlake Sports Complex, Town Square Parks, and the plethora of neighborhood parks we have scattered across the City. Not only that, but this team also handles maintenance of the City’s decorative fountains, ponds, and pavilions!
Thank you to our incredible Parks professionals that keep our City looking beautiful. We rise up for this team because they rise up for us every day!
With Fall well underway, there’s no telling when the weather will take a turn for the worst. What does rainy weather mean for our field availability?
There are multiple considerations our hard-working Parks Team evaluates when deciding to close a field due to weather. Today we put ourselves in the shoes of a Parks Supervisor to get a deeper understanding of the field evaluation process.
What to look for when closing a field:
1. Safety Always Comes First
The first things we look for are the safety and playability of the fields. If the field appears questionable, you need to evaluate whether someone can perform their usual actions during a game. For example, can they run and make a cutting or stopping action safely and without hurting themselves? Resident safety is our priority, and we want to eliminate the risk of accidents as much as possible.
2. Preserve Our Fields
The other thing we pay attention to is the preservation of the fields.
When you play on a field with soft or wet turf or infield areas, it becomes damaged and will not respond to these same conditions the next time we have rain. Areas with turf or infield damage will create wet spots that retain water and makes it harder to drain or flow with the pitch of the field. Consequently, this could create safety concerns and the potential for injuries.
3. Manage our Resources
The last aspect we evaluate comes from a resource management perspective. How much would it cost in time and money to address issues created by playing on fields during unideal conditions? Fixing a damaged field includes re-leveling areas with soil, reseeding, resodding, aerating, extra infield leveling, and inserting more infield material.
As you can see, a lot of thought and consideration goes into deciding to close a field due to weather. In the end, it all comes down to safety. Our mission is to create world-class experiences for those that use our fields. That includes making sure they are safe, clean, and green!
City Council adopted the City of Southlake’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan at its June 15 meeting.
The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan is an element of the Southlake 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which encompasses the vision, goals and objectives that define the values in the community. The plan development represents over a year and a half of work between elected and appointed officials, community stakeholders and citizens and will serve as a framework to guide decisions related to parks and open space planning for the future.
In 2019, City Council appointed the Parks Board to oversee the development of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. As part of the plan’s development, the Park Board conducted a community parks citizens survey and studied the results, received feedback from social media engagement, held 15 public meetings, received input from other City boards such as the Southlake Youth Action Committee, Senior Advisory Committee, Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership and School Health Advisory Council, held an open house to receive public feedback on the plan and held a SPIN (Southlake Programs for the Involvement of Neighborhoods) meeting.
In addition, both the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the plan prior to adoption. The plan development process took place in four phases: review of the current state of parks recreation and open spaces, incorporate community feedback and develop new concept plans and recommendations.
Once the Park Board developed the recommendations were divided into three categories: citywide policy recommendations, capital parks projects recommendations and non-capital parks project recommendations.
For each specific recommendation, a relative tier ranking was established to articulate the expected implementation timeframe for that recommendation and are then prioritized and ranked by the parks board and City Council.
“Great parks and open space play such an important role in strengthening our community, improving our physical and mental health, and making Southlake a great community to live and work. The Park Board in conjunction with the Community Services and Planning and Development Departments have worked diligently over the past 18 months to create a plan that will serve as a blueprint to ensure that Southlake has great parks and open space to serve our citizens and many future generations,” Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker said.
A full copy of the newly adopted City of Southlake Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan is available on the City of Southlake’s website.
The plan encompasses strategies that will continue to accommodate the growing Southlake community by creating more opportunities for recreational programs and services, in addition to investing in enhanced park facilities and open spaces.
These recommendations were collected utilizing community surveys, public meetings and social media engagement.
With so many fantastic outdoor opportunities in Southlake, we decided to create a list of outdoor safety tips to ensure your summer consists of only happy memories.
Summer is here, and the fun is just beginning! From athletic leagues and summer camps to our beautiful parks and playgrounds, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside this summer. Make sure to keep the following safety tips in mind when you venture out in Southlake and beyond.
Protect yourself from the sun and heat when you head out to one of our parks such as Bicentennial Park or Bob Jones Park!
Stay hydrated when out on our many trails or playing on one of our 44 athletics fields!
Fight the Bite when out in nature like the trails on the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve.
Be vigilant near water sources like the pond at Chesapeake Park!
With these safety tips in mind, you’re sure to have the summer of a lifetime!