1994: McClendon Park East
740 W. Kimball Street
McClendon Park East is a 16-acre neighborhood park in Southwest Mansfield with a baseball field, small playground and nature trail connection to McClendon Park West.
McClendon Park East began when State Senator Chris Harris offered to sell the city 15 acres of his property at one-quarter the market value to develop a park. A group of residents formed the Mansfield Area Fund, a nonprofit arm of the Communities Foundation of Texas, to facilitatie not only that deal but also negotiated with three other nearby landowners who agreed to donate land in the greenbelt between that property and McClendon Park West to connect the parks. Purchase and development was funded with a $275,000 grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife as well as donations from First National Bank, Women’s Division of Chamber, Mansfield Award Center and the Mansfield Rotary. For the city’s matching portion of the TPW grant, they donated the land purchased and/or donated and an additional $60,000 in cash.
The park was designed as an expansion to McClendon Park West but was dedicated as McClendon Park East when it opened on April 23, 1994. The two parks have individual addresses and entrances but are connected via an unofficial nature trail through the woods that separate them. The McClendon Parks remain the only recreational parks west of Broad street, joined only by Mans Best Field Dog Park.
McClendon Parks East and West are named in honor of McClendon “Mac” Moody, a prominent citizen known for his gentle spirit and dedication to the community.
Mr. Moody was orphaned at a young age, finding work with a local doctor while he was in school. He then went to work as a baker at Leonard Brothers Store, which later became Winn-Dixie. Mr. Moody spent over 50 years in the bakery, and his friendly face was a beloved stop for Mansfield residents doing their weekly shopping. During this same time, Mr. Moody was the owner of the first black-owned business on Main Street, opening an auto service center at the corner of Oak and Main. He hired friends and family to run the shop while he continued in the bakery. In his retirement, Mr. Moody was still active throughout the community, serving as a bus driver for senior citizen services at the Mansfield Activities Center.
The Moodys are one of the area’s oldest families, with a long history of community service. McClendon carried on that family tradition and was a vocal advocate, particularly for the neighborhoods on the West side where he and his family had grown up. As he said in a 1981 interview, “Being in the city all day and riding through the city all the time, I see there’s a lot to be done and I’d like to be the one to do it. There’s a need for someone to take an interest in the city.” On his wife’s urging, Mr. Moody ran for City Council. He was elected in 1981 and would go on to serve for 15 years as the first black council member in the city’s history. McClendon Moody is largely credited as being instrumental in significant infrastructure improvements made on the west side of Mansfield.
It was his passion for the neighborhood that also prompted him to push city leaders for a park in the area. When the park on Broad Street opened in 1985, the City of Mansfield honored Mr. Moody with this naming dedication. It was his request the park use his first name, McClendon, as the official name. In 1994, a group of volunteers secured a grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife to fund the expansion and creation of McClendon Park East, off West Kimball Street.
McClendon Moody and his wife Cleo were married for over 40 years and together raised ten children, all of whom attended Mansfield schools and many still live in the area. A devoted Christian, Mr. Moody served as a Deacon at Bethlehem Baptist Church until his death in 2018.
In the words of his longtime pastor and dear friend, Pastor Michael Evans, “Mac Moody was a kind and gentle man with a heart for the people who demonstrated that every day of his life. To have a park named for this gentle spirit shows the level of respect he’d earned from this city. He was everything you could ever want in a citizen and it’s a beautiful way to honor his legacy.”