Councilman Joe Krier, District 9, co-hosted a public meeting with the City’s Transportation & Capital Improvements (TCI) Department on April 10 at Barbara Bush Middle School to unveil the design plans on a 2012 Bond Project to upgrade the trail connected to the school (see attached site map).
“Since I took over as Councilman, the two things District 9 residents consistently ask for are more libraries and parks,” said Councilman Krier of his excitement over the improvements.
Although this is not a “new” park, the Lead Landscape Architect from the Terra Design Group, Marc Zak outlined how the project is intended to continue improvements based on the Master Plan for Stone Oak Park. One of the biggest upgrades is a trail extension that runs along the length of the park which has always been a big desire of residents according to TCI. The key objective for the designers was to expand the amount and ease of use of the park while enhancing, and not adversely impacting, the natural advantages of the property.
The bulk of the park upgrade includes a concrete trail extension that is planned to be approximately 4000 linear feet, just under a mile, complete with rest nodes. The bond also includes constructing a parking extension at the trailhead south of stone oak parkway large enough to accommodate 10-12 spaces. There is a trail connection to Bush Middle School, an outdoor classroom with boulder seating, and a shade canopy over the existing playground structure which are all designed with the middle school students in mind (see attached outdoor classroom).
The design team described one of the more unique features of the landscape design, a meditation labyrinth located at the trailhead south of Stone Oak Parkway (see attached labyrinth). The 45-foot diameter meditation labyrinth is complete with 11 “circuits” connected to the middle. This provides a seating area where the park patron may sit and better connect with nature. The design is based on the labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral in France, which was laid in the cathedral in the early half of the 13th century. The Chartres Labyrinth is one of the most well-known labyrinths in the world.
Jamaal Moreno, the TCI Project Manager, said that the total budget for the project is $570,000 and is still in the design phase so any input that the public gave Councilman Krier or the design team will be considered as the plan moves forward.
“We are ready to move this project forward and the park patrons are just as excited as we are about completing the extension of the trail the full length of the park property. We believe once it’s open for use, this expanded trail system will offer quite a unique experience to the typical Stone Oak Park trail user,” said Moreno.
The construction bid for the project is expected to go out for bid late this year with construction expected to begin in early 2015 and completed by early 2016.
Councilman Krier concluded the program by thanking the design team for allowing public input at this early stage and said he planned to conduct another public meeting after the bid has been decided but before construction begins.