Katherine Rose Memorial Park has been a Mansfield favorite since opening in 1996, but the much-loved park is showing its age and in need of a refresh. As planning got underway to replace the playground, staff quickly realized the land needed not just an update, but an opportunity existed to establish Rose Park as a unique destination for all residents to enjoy remarkable experiences, regardless of their age, interests or physical abilities. It’s a large undertaking, but an exciting project that sets the stage for the future of Mansfield parks.
The Rose Park property, located at 303 N Walnut Creek Drive, was originally owned by Conway and Katherine Rose, who lived in Fort Worth but used it as their private weekend ranch. The family kept horses, chickens and other animals onsite and planted 110 pecan trees in addition to the existing ones to fill out the orchard space. After Katherine’s death, Conway sold the property to the City for a future park, with the request that it be named in her honor. Katherine Rose Memorial Park was the first to be developed under the newly-adopted half-cent sales tax ordinance approved by voters in 1992, and quickly became a community favorite and home to many events, family gatherings and daily trips to the playground or linear trail.
The existing playground was added in 2010, and was the first accessible playground in Mansfield. The well-loved and heavily used equipment is nearing the end of its usable life, and due to the aging structure and the high visibility and popularity of the park, replacing the current unit with a larger, inclusive destination playground was the top priority for the southwest quadrant in the 2020 Parks & Recreation Master Plan. The goal is not only to update the park, but to reach underserved populations with a space as unique and special as the park itself.
In 2021, the Mansfield City Council allotted $1.5 million to replace the playground. Park planners quickly realized the existing footprint severely limited the layout and size of any new equipment, and began a master plan process to create an overall plan for the best use of the entire property. That includes not only all of the land and amenities in Katherine Rose Memorial Park, but also Hardy Allmon Soccer Complex, which is directly across Walnut Creek Drive and connected via the Walnut Creek Linear Trail.
Hardy Allmon Soccer Complex land was purchased by the City in 1958 for use as a landfill. The property was leased to private rodeo club the Mansfield Trailblazers, who built a concession stand, restrooms and arenas, and hosted competitions from 1979-1987. In 1987, the lease ended and the City renovated the land into soccer fields for the rapidly growing Mansfield Soccer Association. It was the primary game field until the Mansfield Sports Complex opened in 1996, and has since been used only for practices and private rentals. The space is underutilized, especially in comparison to Rose Park across the street, so including this land in the master plan opens up a number of possibilities for park expansion and layout updates.
Layout Options & Restrictions
As with many parks, the majority of Rose Park and Hardy Allmon are within the floodway, and unable to have permanent structures. Parks are often built on floodway/floodplain land, which is otherwise unusable but a great way to preserve much-needed green space in the community that can be enjoyed as a park on dry days. Those floodway boundaries severely restrict the buildable land within the property, so layout changes and amenity options are limited to what can be legally and logistically built in the available spaces.
That said, planners and consultants have worked hard to find creative options that allow for a much larger, more dramatic playground with a splash pad, expanded parking and new restroom facilities. At the same time, the current concepts call for the expansion of both basketball and sand volleyball and the addition of tennis and outdoor pickleball courts. The plans will be explained in detail at an upcoming public meeting on Thursday, July 7, where the public is invited to give their feedback and share ideas. All concepts are very preliminary at this stage, and pending further input and discussion with residents before final plans proceed.
Katherine Rose Memorial Park is a high priority in large part because it is so important within the community, which is why public feedback in its development will be crucial to the project’s success. Park planners and the design consultant are hosting a public information meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, at Mansfield City Hall to review the entire project, answer questions and gather residents’ thoughts and ideas. The meeting will be filmed and posted on the project webpage. As an added bonus, we’re giving away exclusive Mansfield Parks & Recreation t-shirts to the first 50 people at the public meeting!
In addition to the meeting, an online public feedback survey is available now through July 11 for residents to share their ideas and weigh in on possible changes and additions. Click here to take the survey.
Staff and designers will use the first round of feedback to develop initial concepts and renderings, which will be presented for another round of input gathering later this summer. Final designs will be presented to City Council for approval, with a target goal to begin construction in early 2023.
For more details about this or any other park project, please visit the project update website and sign up for park project email alerts, or submit a contact form to speak directly with staff.