plano, parks and recreation, master plan, parks and recreation master plan, plano parks, arbor hills nature preserve
Visitors enjoy a breathtaking view of the greenery at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano

On the weekends, my family makes its way down to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in West Plano. We hike on the trails and bond while enjoying being amongst the greenery. We pet dogs and chat with other Plano residents out for a stroll, and every time, without fail, my dad manages to get us lost (but don’t tell him I told you that). It’s a family tradition.

Plano parks are important. They give us a space where we can get in shape, mentally and physically. Yes, walking helps you maintain a healthy weight and improves your circulation. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that it keeps you mentally agile. Taking a walk a day reduces your risk of dementia by 50%.

Plano parks are an integral part of our culture, which is why it’s so important that we have a say in what goes into these public spaces.

The City of Plano is now updating their Parks and Recreation Master Plan and is looking to the community for valuable input on the changes that will occur in our parks over the next 5 to 20 years. The Master Plan incorporates all of the city’s demographic data, surveys, and guidelines to establish criteria for the development of Plano parks. As Plano’s needs change, the parks change.

The Plano Parks and Recreation staff has been working with consulting firm Halff Associates on the new Master Plan since last spring. It is expected to go before the Parks and Recreation Board and Planning and Zoning Commission this summer and reach City Council for consideration this fall.

The next opportunity for community involvement will be at 6:30 p.m. on June 18 at Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center. Make sure to be there and be heard!

From a community input event

Read more: Bark in the Park at Jack Carter Dog Park

Plano has a long list of park renovation projects already underway. Below are a few examples, but visit Plano’s website for a complete list.

Current projects in Plano parks

Blue Ridge Park:

Adding a new park shelter, two new playgrounds, new walkways, a new irrigation system, and a new sidewalk connection to the parking lot at Thomas Elementary School.

Construction start date: Jan/Feb. 2018.

Carpenter Park:

Adding a skate park with shade, new lights, additional parking, new restrooms, aesthetic improvements to the drainage channel, and the addition of four new detention ponds.

Construction start date: May 2017

The fields on the south side of Carpenter Park are closed and temporary fencing has been installed around the area.

Bob Woodruff Park:

A new dog park is in design and will be added to the park.

Plano Senior Recreation Center:

The entire center will be renovated and expanded.

Read more: All-abilities Park is now open!

Each of these projects was only undertaken after numerous meetings with the community. Park Planning Manager Renee Jordan makes it clear that the committee bases plans around the needs of Plano’s residents.

“As Plano grows, ages and becomes more diverse, we need to address the changing needs… So far we have received tremendous feedback from the public, and we look forward to sharing our draft of the new plan with the community throughout the summer,” Jordan says.

Parks and Recreation Master Plan Meeting

Cost: Free

When: Monday, June 18th, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Tom Muehlenbeck Center, 5801 Parker Rd, Plano, TX 75093

Vaibhavi Hemasundar

Vaibhavi Hemasundar is an undergraduate at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She loves singing, film photography, and devouring book after book.