North Texas Daily

Denton Parks and Recreation shares updates in beautification meeting

Denton Parks and Recreation shares updates in beautification meeting

Denton Parks and Recreation shares updates in beautification meeting
September 13
14:00 2023

The City of Denton’s Parks and Recreation department presented updates on over 50 projects during a Parks, Recreation and Beautification Board meeting on Monday night.

The meeting agenda include six completed projects, 27 that are in-progress, eight that are pending and 10 that are upcoming. Board chair and university alumnus George Ferrie said the meeting covered so many projects because it was a quarterly talk but it is normal to have that many items to discuss.

“The Parks department works really, really hard under [Gary Packan’s] direction,” Ferrie said. “They are constantly working to enhance opportunities for folks to experience green space and parks in Denton.”

The advisory board is made up of seven members appointed by the City Council, and works with the parks department to discuss and make recommendations on issues related to community appearance like up-and-coming projects and beautification efforts.

“I’ve seen the staff transition and I’ve seen the growth and I see the hard work that goes into their efforts and it comes from the leadership,” said Frances Punch, committee vice-chair and director of sponsors for the Denton Black Film Festival.

One of the newest projects which has not been officially announced yet by the city was the Lake Forest Park Glow Trail. Solar-charged “Glow Stones” have been embedded in the park’s pathways and can glow for over 10 hours after dark.

Fince Espinoza, assistant director of Parks and Recreation and former deputy director of Park Operations & Projects at Highland Village, said the glow trail is the city’s test of the non-toxic rocks and depending on response they may be used in more locations.

“We tried it over there and it looks excellent,” Espinoza said. “It’s something small, it’s something that that you don’t see very often or at all in your lifetime. So now we have it here in Denton and we plan to incorporate it in future projects.”

Part of the city’s pending projects is the Quakertown Centennial Memorial. The city has installed temporary signage which includes historical pictures and information about Quakertown — a predominately Black neighborhood in Denton whose residents were displaced between 1921 and 1923. City consultants are working on a master plan for Downtown and Quakertown Park which will include a Quakertown memorial.

Denton is also working on a $3.4 million Urban Forest Restoration Initiative and in the process of submitting an application to a United States Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry grant for part of the funding.

The initiative includes a plan to plant 900 trees throughout the city, specifically in heavily paved areas in order to provide shade and reduce the amount of heat trapped in the concrete.

Part of the initiative is also to remove up to 230 acres of the invasive Chinese Privet, plant native ground cover to reduce the chances of reinfestation and educating the public about the importance of urban forestry.

An in-progress project is the city’s digital inventory of up to 40,000 trees. Scanning of the trees was completed in June and Denton is expected to get the final data in September.

The city is also working on the Lily Cantu Inclusive Playground which will offer a “barrier free” play area and will include “features for all abilities physical and mental such as rehabilitation equipment, nature-based, and garden/landscape experiences for children and adults of all abilities,” according to the meeting presentation.

The park is named after Librada “Lily” Rose Cantú, a Denton local who passed away at 20 after a life of working with youth in need both locally and with a nonprofit organization in Peru. Renders of the playground will be released in the fall to increase public engagement.

Punch said the inclusive playground was her favorite project discussed during the meeting.

“I am excited that it was passed,” Punch said. “I’m excited of the history about Ms. Cantu and I’m excited for the future that that park is going to provide for all the individuals that will experience it.”

Other in-progress projects include a tennis and pickleball center and McKenna “Adventure Park” which will include climbable boulders and balance beams. Both projects are expected to open this fall. South Lakes Park Adventure Trails will include 3-4 miles of trails for mountain biking and after a pause for the summer has resumed construction.

Denton is also expanding its aquatic offers with an Aquatics Master Plan to be adopted in October and a size increase for the Carl Young Sr. Park splashpad.

North Lakes Dog Park and Lake Forest Trail are also scheduled for enhancements. The dog park will receive a redesign to fix drainage issues from decomposed granite pathways which includes concrete walkways and additional areas for parking.

A couple of upcoming projects include planting 257 trees as part of its annual tree planting and increasing the amount of public art the city with a mural for Sycamore Bridge and expanding its public art traffic box wraps.

More information about the departments projects and updates  as well as chances to submit public input can be found on

Featured Image: The McKenna Park playground stands at Bronnie Brae Street on Sep. 12, 2023. Makayla Brown

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John Anderson

John Anderson

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