1989: Phillip Thompson Soccer Complex
1701 N. Holland Road
Philip Thompson Soccer Complex has eight acres of irrigated fields used for practice by MSA soccer teams and is the easternmost trailhead for the Walnut Creek Linear Trail.
Long before the soccer fields, this 20-acre property was home to Mansfield’s biological wastewater treatment plant from 1950 to 1974. All sewage lines from the city traveled via underground pipes that emptied into the ring-shaped pool known as the race track, where the large rotors would churn rapidly, adding oxygen and chemicals to circulate and sanitize the water. You can see the rotor location by the red arrow on the picture, and even the whitewater rapids created by the movement. From there, the water would flow into the two lagoons, where natural separation would allow solids to settle to the bottom and only clean water to remain and flow into Walnut Creek.
Still visible today at the park, near the trail’s westbound curve, is what remains of the housing for the brush rotor. It was located in the middle of the race track, which also shows the water circulating from the movement created by this rotor. As a large and heavy steel unit, the equipment was left behind when the plant closed and remains in the exact same location today. Because of the design of the facility, using gravity and natural processes of oxidation and decantation, this type of system used very little electricity, chemicals or manpower and was very common at the time, especially for a small rural community like Mansfield.
The facility was phased out after Mansfield entered a wastewater agreement with Trinity River Authority in 1974, and the property sat vacant for over a decade.. By that time, trees and brush had grown up around the structure, which was too large and heavy to move, so it went unnoticed until a trail expansion in 2010 cleared the path. It's surrounded by fencing now to protect the artifact as well as users from sharp, rusty edges, but nearby signs help everyone learn about this little slice of Mansfield history as they enjoy the park!
In 1989, the city began converting the vacant property into soccer fields through a joint partnership with Mansfield Soccer Association. The grand opening and dedication ceremony was held on March 2, 1991. This location was used as game fields until Skinner Sports Complex opened in 1996, and now the fields are used primarily for practice.
Development and Improvement
In 2020, the city completed Phase 2B of the Walnut Creek Linear Trail, which added a 1.35-mile paved trail from the rear loop of Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park to the 360-Tollway, crossing Philip Thompson Soccer Complex midway through. The soccer complex now serves as a primary trailhead for the easternmost segment of the popular linear trail, which will eventually connect from west to east city limits.
The park was dedicated in honor of Philip Thompson upon opening in 1989. Thompson had been a long-time soccer, baseball and basketball coach and community leader before his sudden death. Just a year prior, Thompson had been named Mansfield youth coach of the year. In addition to the park, a scholarship was established in his name for Mansfield High School seniors.