WAXAHACHIE — Before the ceremonial ribbon was cut to open Matthews Park on Tuesday, children were already hard at work forging memories under the Texas sun.
Matthews Park is the city’s newest park and is located on the corner of Garden Valley Parkway and Harvest Grove Drive. It features a half-mile hike-and-bike trail, farmed themed splash pad, pavilion and playground.
Splash pads are mini water parks where children can jump through jets of water, fountains or even spray water at each other. The park also features an American with Disabilities Act approved swing that can be utilized by children with disabilities. The park was created through a partnership between the City of Waxahachie and Legacy Grove Development.
Owner of Legacy Grove Development, David Hargrove, said he is pleased with the how the park looks and it will be enjoyed for years to come by countless families.
“It has been a milestone and we could not be more excited just to see some excited kids out here having fun. That is what it is all about," Hargrove said. "I hope that this can be a park that everyone can enjoy for years and years to come. We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
Hargrove explained that the park is adjacent to a seven-acre natural area, which, with the help of some environmental groups in Garden Valley, will be preserved. Native grasses and plants will also be planted in the area.
During the ceremony, Hargrove thanked the City of Waxahachie, Craftsman Playground Equipment, Pat Kennedy, John Houston Custom Homes and Bloomfield Homes for their efforts in creating the park.
Waxahachie Parks and Recreation Director John Smith said the new park would be a benefit for years to come for residents.
“The town is growing and that means we're expanding everything including our parks. That is wonderful. You can’t have anything better than a brand new park,” Smith said. “Most of our parks in our system are on the south side of (U.S. Highway) 287. So by coming north and servicing all of these new homes and all of these great families means a lot. Hopefully, this is the first of more things to come for our parks system.”
Smith said he expects the splash pad installed at Matthews Park to receive a lot of use because the splash pad at George Brown Plaza is always busy.
Attending the opening was Jennifer Droll with her two children Liam and Maddox. Droll stated that it is nice having a park like this near their home that the family can enjoy regularly.
“We live in this neighborhood right over here and it is nice that we have a park this close that we can ride our bikes to. That is what we did today is rode our bikes over here for this,” Droll said. “We are so grateful that they put this in for us. It is so cute. The playground is perfect."
Fellow resident Rebecca Prohaska shared Droll’s feelings about the new park.
“We are really excited about it. It is fantastic. I love the theme and space. We will be here a lot,” Prohaska said. ”When we pulled up my son said, ‘it is a tractor park’ and was really excited. We have wanted a splash pad here for a long time. To have it here close to the north side of Waxahachie is great.”