What Are Our Biggest Issues?
As the committee evaluated the inventory, benchmarks and feedback, four topics emerged as key focus areas needed highest priority attention.
FOCUS AREA: Playgrounds
- Based on the adopted standards, Mansfield should have 21 playgrounds in 2020 but only has 15. By 2030, we will need an additional 14.
- The average playground equipment is nearly nine years old, nearing the 10-15 year industry standard lifetime.
- Because of the rapid growth of the city, some areas expanded quickly and without adequate parks to serve the new residents. Land is now scarce in the most densely populated quadrant with no space to add parks or playgrounds.
- Action is needed to preserve what little remains as well as to ensure the same does not happen with the southern areas that are now seeing new development.
- Playgrounds ranked in the top four most important facilities in the user survey.
- Neighborhood parks/park closer to my house was the third most frequently requested additions in write-in answers.
- Today's park visitors expect comfort amenities like shade, seating, interactive features and themed playgrounds for a more unique experience.
- The committee recommends all playgrounds get comfort upgrades like shade, additional seating and wifi.
- All aging playgrounds should be replaced with new equipment that offers more modern amenities and diversity of activity.
- Staff should seek new areas to add playgrounds and play amenities, either in existing parks or unused space or in newly developed parks.
FOCUS AREA: Recreation & Aquatics
- Based on adopted standards, Mansfield should have one aquatic center per 50k residents and one splash pad per 40k residents. With a 2020 population of 75k, we should have at least one of each, nearing two. Mansfield has one splash pad but no pool or aquatic center.*see note below
- Based on adopted standards, Mansfield should have one sqft of recreation center per 1000 residents, so 75k in 2020 and 100k in 2030. The MAC has 20k sqft and no fitness equipment, indoor track or other amenities typically associated with a recreation center.
- Benchmark survey finds nearly every city in DFW with 20k+ residents has at least one recreation center with fitness, and more than 75% have some form of indoor pool and/or aquatic center.
- Unprogrammed fitness options like volleyball and basketball courts, exercise stations, disc golf and skate parks offer residents free, flexible activities for a variety of interests with low operational cost.
- Exercise & fitness was the highest ranking activity for park users across all demographics.
- Pools, splash pads and recreation center all ranked in top five biggest needs.
- Aquatics was the most commonly requested amenity on social media comments.
- A large recreation center would fulfill needs for a variety of heavily requested amenities or services for a wide range of ages, interests and demographics.
- Expand MAC to add second gym, indoor pool, exercise equipment and additional classroom space.
- Build family aquatic center with lazy river, playground, diving pool and slide/ride options at location TBD.
- Add splash pads to new and existing parks when possible.
- Build second multigenerational recreation center with indoor aquatics, fitness , gym and classroom space.
- Build (or repurpose an existing building if available) active adult center for senior fitness, classroom and socialization options.
- Build Nature Center at Oliver Nature Park to offer wider variety of nature education programs.
- Identify and add new programs to fill the needs of underserved populations.
*Note: The parks & recreation industry defines aquatic facilities as such:
- Regional Water Park: Large water park with mutliple major rides and amenities (Hawaiian Falls Mansfield)
- Family Aquatic Center: Smaller water park with lap pool, play structures, lazy river and some small slides. Can be indoor or outdoor (Arlington's Randol Mill Family Aquatic Center or Burleson BRICK)
- Pool: Lap lanes and/or diving pool with no play structures. Can be indoor or outdoor. (Arlington's Hugh Smith Indoor Pool or Allen Bolden Outdoor Pool)
- Splash Pad: Outdoor water feature with spray elements; no standing water or swimming. Generally free admission and no lifeguard. (Chandler Park)
FOCUS AREA: Athletic Fields
- Current standards call for an additional 10 baseball fields and 10 soccer fields to meet the 2020 population, increasing with the population.
- Skinner Sports Complex, the main athletic fields for Mansfield, are limited by layout and surrounding neighborhoods added after the park was built. For any meaningful improvement to the complex, the space needs a complete redesign to a more efficient layout.
- State of the art athletic complexes can serve large tournaments as well as regular recreational play, opening up tourism options and expand the usage window.
- Users rated the quantity of fields as satisfactory but quality as low; the inventory is sufficient to meet needs but the fields themselves need improvement.
- Most common requests were for spectator features like parking, restrooms, concessions and improved lighting.
- Youth sports are in a steady decline, both nationally and locally, as evidenced by Mansfield's enrollment over the last few years.
- Based on participation trends, we can determine the need for additional fields is not great; assuming the decline continues we should not expect a huge rush in increased participants. That said, the current participants still need fields that are better quality.
- PROJECTS Done Editing
- Build new, multi-sport athletic complex at SW Community Park with new fields as well as a variety of neighborhood park amenities to serve new developments in that area, including trails, playgrounds, splash pad and more.
- Renovate Skinner Sports Complex to improve layout and quality of fields; add other park amenities to serve residents in the area.
- Upgrade all other sports fields with new fencing, shade, bleachers and restrooms
FOCUS AREA: Trails
- Based on adopted standards, Mansfield should have 15 miles of trails in 2020, and 21 by 2030. We currently have five.
- Trails have a wide flexiblity in use (bikes, walking, runners, families, individuals) and low maintenance cost proportionate to the high rate of return on usage.
- Connecting parks, neighborhoods and business areas with trails helps widen the access of each individual park or amenity and resolving inequities in parkland distribution.
- Connectivity of the parks and the linear trail was consistently cited as residents' most important park features.
- Trails and fitness both ranked high in importance and need among both the online survey and focus group feedback.
- Complete Walnut Creek Linear Trail to east and west city limits.
- Continue building Spine Trail network, a loop around the outer edge of the city that has north-south connections running through it.
- Seek additional ways to link parks to each other or nearby neighborhoods; make future connectivity a priority when building new parks.
- Continue expanding bike lanes and trails according to Bike Master Plan.