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Forney Community Park
Forney, Texas

Schrickel, Rollins and Associates (SRA)




Nestled next to the wooded natural area is the family recreation area, which comprises two-lighted sand volleyball courts, a large playground area (behind the volleyball), two lighted multi-use courts (far left), horseshoe pits, three lighted tennis courts (fences in background), a large pavilion (behind playground) and a spray park.

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The small community of Forney, Texas in Kaufman County is on the eastern edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis. The Texas legislature officially named the city the “antique capital of Texas.”

The city is poised to grow. Forney’s population was 5,588 as of the 2000 census, but is projected to reach 13,000. One of its concerns was the ability to provide recreational opportunities for the community now, and to meet those needs as the city grows.

 




The large playground area covers some 11,500 sq. ft. and contains 2-5 year old and 5-12 year old play structures. Features includes basics like swings, but also the Space Net and Mobius Climber, both from Landscape Structures.


In 2004, Schrickel, Rollins and Associates, Inc. prepared a park, recreation and open space master plan that included a current, five-year and 10-year land and facilities needs assessment. From this plan a new community park was scheduled to be built on 127-acres, for which SRA prepared the site master plan. The city’s staff wanted to create a park that reflected the unique heritage of Forney. In March of 2009, Phase I of Forney Community Park had its grand opening.

Phase I of the park is approximately 70-acres and includes a softball complex, soccer complex, family recreation area, lighted trail system, parks and recreation administration building, maintenance building and the preservation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetland.
Commenting on the park’s grand opening, Forney Post managing editor wrote: “The park is absolutely beautiful in its design and presentation and is worth every dime of the money taxpayers spent.”

 




The front entrance to the park displays fiberglass cotton bales, one of the designs reflecting the region’s heritage.


“The SRA project team has been critical for the success in designing and constructing such a meaningful asset for the city of Forney,” added Richard Curry, director of Forney Parks and Recreation.

 




The entry sign to the Softball Complex is landscaped with dwarf wax myrtle, gulf muhly, Texas safe, black-eyed Susan, lantana and creeping thyme. Shaded in-grade bleachers, backstop netting and field numbering are appreciated amenities for softball spectators.


Forney Prairie Hay

The distinctiveness of the park is based on Forney’s rich cultural history. Forney wanted to reflect its ranching and farming heritage in the park. In the mid-1800s, Forney was known for its prairie hay. The prairies that surround the town were covered with native grass that produced sweet, nutritious hay when cut and baled. This was a leading export for Forney until that industry peaked and cotton took its place. By 1910, Forney had eight cotton gins. This was more than any other town its size in Texas. Fifteen to 20,000 bales of cotton were ginned each fall and shipped to markets across the United States.

 




The softball complex contains four-lighted 200-ft. competition-level fast pitch softball fields with warm-up areas and covered in-grade bleachers.


The front entrance to the park offers a unique entrance sign, which includes fiberglass cotton bales. This welcome sign sets the stage for park goers.

Other heritage markers are the irrigation storage tank, designed to look like a grain elevator silo, the centerpiece water tower, also reminiscent of a grain elevator silo and the large “feeding trough” at the entry to the soccer complex.

 




Pebbleflex surfacing proves a more cushioned slip-resistant surface. The water used at the splash pad collects in a sump basin and is pumped to the irrigation storage tank for irrigation use.

 

Conservation and Natural Areas

Pedestrian use of the park and conservation of the natural areas were driving forces in the design of the park. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetland was preserved between the softball and soccer complexes, creating a natural buffer between the two activities, and a natural filtration area for the park’s storm water run-off.

 



Plexipave surfacing, a 100-percent colored acrylic latex surfacing, was specified for the basketball and tennis courts. The structure in the background of the tennis court was designed to look like a grain elevator, but is in fact a water tank.

 

Sport Fields Galore

The softball complex contains four-lighted 200-ft. competition-level fast pitch softball fields with warm-up areas and covered in-grade bleachers.

The Soccer Complex contains four U5 fields, four U6 fields, two U8 fields and two U10 fields in the complex, for a total of 12 soccer fields. All of the fields are lighted, except for the U5 fields, and each field has covered bleachers for both the home and visiting team and their fans.

 




A stone edifice in Lueder’s limestone and an attractive landscape of weeping love grass, purple prickly pear and lantana announce the soccer complex. Bermuda grass was specified for the lawn areas. The “Hay Barn” houses the complex’s concession, restrooms, a large two-level storage room and a covered patio with tables and benches. The Hay Barn reflects Forney’s former Blackland prairie hay industry.

 

Pink Elephant

Along with the park’s top quality athletic facilities, the park features passive park elements that appeal to every age. In the center of the complex is the “Pink Elephant” diner, the complex’s concession and restroom facilities. The diner is fashioned after the Pink Elephant Sandwich Shoppe that was a popular Forney hangout in the 1930s and 1940s. The complex also contains a large, covered playground and open space between the fields for gatherings. The complex is enclosed with a single entry point for use as a tournament facility in addition to recreation play.

 




The Soccer Complex contains 12 youth soccer fields in four field-size classifications: four U5 fields; four U6 fields; two U8 fields; and two U10 fields. A typical U6 field is 15 x 30 yards, while a U10 is 50 x 80 yards. All of the fields have lights, except for the U5 fields, and each field has covered bleachers for both the home and visiting team and their fans.

 

Hay Barn

Located at the entrance to the soccer complex is the “Hay Barn,” which houses the complex’s concession and restrooms. This building also contains a large, two-level storage room and a 1,800 sq. ft. covered patio with tables and benches. The Hay Barn reflects Forney’s former Blackland prairie hay industry. The complex was designed such that the fields could detain storm water run-off in a major rain event. This was accomplished through the use of elevated sidewalks/trails and berms, which give the complex a unique feel.

 




The playground at the softball complex features the Evos Playground System (Landscape Structures, Inc.), and fabric shade structures (Sunports). The playground in the family rec area (bottom left) also offers shade from the Texas sun.

 

Family Rec

Nestled adjacent to 33 acres of wooded, natural area is the family recreation area, which comprises a large playground area, a spray park, two lighted multi-use courts, two lighted sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and three lighted tennis courts.

The large playground area covers some 11,500 sq. ft. and contains 2-5 year old and 5-12 year old play structures, along with swings, large climbing structures and several other individual play amenities. An interesting feature of the spray park is that the water used throughout the day is collected in a sump basin and then pumped over to the irrigation storage tank for irrigation purposes.

 




A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetland was preserved between the softball and soccer complexes, creating a buffer between the two activities, and a natural filtration area for the park’s storm water run-off.

 

A large pavilion is located within the center of all this activity. The pavilion is rented throughout the year for various civic and private events. The structure contains a 2,600 sq. ft. covered patio with tables and benches, restrooms, a food service area and storage room.







At the side of the Hay Barn is a landscape of weeping love grass, purple prickly pear and a desert willow. The fields around the complex were designed for detention of rainstorm water. This was accomplished through the use of elevated sidewalks/trails and berms, which give the complex a unique feel.

About the Firm

Schrickel, Rollins and Associates (SRA), founded in 1955, provides quality consulting services in landscape architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, architecture and planning. SRA has remained committed to applying innovative ideas and searching for appropriate solutions to design challenges. The firm has grown to a multidisciplinary staff of more than 50 people.

Founder Gene Schrickel, FASLA, began his career as a prominent residential landscape architect, having projects published in Better Homes and Garden and winning the prestigious Dallas Beautification award. In the late ’50s, Mr. Schrickel became an advocate of the monumental parks movement, pairing his organic approach to landscape architecture with his business partner Albert Rollins’ keen problem-solving capabilities in civil engineering. The planning and design of parks and trail systems has been a major emphasis for SRA for more than 45 years.

SRA was one the “Top 25 Best Landscape Architectural Firms to Work for” list in the U.S. by consulting firm Zweig White in 2007, 2008 and 2009. SRA was also recognized among the “Top 50 Best Civil Engineering Firms and Top 25 Best Small Civil Engineering Firms to Work For” by CE News in 2008, with honorable mention in 2009. SRA employees have an average tenure of more than 16.5 years!





Forney Park Project

Final Construction Cost: $14.399 million
Project Size: Phase 1, approx. 70-acres

Project Manager:
James Williams, RLA

Project Designer:
James Williams, RLA/Spencer Freeman, RLA

Project Civil Engineer:
Sanford LaHue, Jr., PE

Project Architect:
Ron Horton, RA

Consultants: Yaggi Engineering – Electrical Engineering • Maloney Associates Consulting Engineers – Mechanical and Plumbing Engineering • James Pole Irrigation – Irrigation Design • Don Illingworth and Associates – Structural Engineering • Atelier Design Associates – Accessibility Compliance

Owner: City of Forney Parks and Recreation

Contractor: Greg Firebaugh, Dean Construction


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November 18, 2019, 11:33 am PDT

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