PARK CONCEPT AND HISTORY

This project grew out of a desire from two local service clubs to provide an All-Access playground in Brazos County.

Both clubs, the Rotary Club of College Station and the College Station Noon Lions Club, were working independently during 2012. Early in 2013, they joined forces to create a project that would serve the entire Brazos Valley area. Both clubs, along with the City of College Station, entered into an agreement for this project which would encourage further preliminary planning. During the fall semester of 2013, Texas A&M University Landscape Architecture undergraduate studio students enrolled in the LAND 320 course led by Dr. Eric Bardenhagen, Ph.D., and Dr. Kenneth Hurst, MLA/CPSI, developed six conceptual master plans for a universal access playground at three possible park sites in the City of College Station. These designs were presented to the City representatives and the project Club sponsors in December, 2013. The following spring, in April of 2014, the City of College Station Council approved the concept for such a project.

During the summer of 2014, a conceptual master plan was created by Yucheng Wang, a graduate MLA student at TAMU working under the direction of Dr. Bardenhagen. He developed a single refined playground master plan concept and graphics to enhance fundraising efforts. This effort also provided materials to support two public input meetings that were held by the City and sponsors during the fall of 2014. As more citizens learned of the project, other service clubs joined in the effort, including the Kiwanis Club and the other five Bryan/College Station Lions and two Rotary Clubs. The all-volunteer Board (Steering Committee) is comprised of members from the aforementioned service clubs, local citizens, and caregivers. Three Task Forces of volunteers were organized to spearhead the work needed regarding publicity, fund-raising, and grant/foundation applications.

Fundraising activities kicked off in January of 2015 with a gala reception at the home of Mrs. Sue Lee – the evening netted commitments exceeding $250,000 to the campaign. Immediately thereafter, in February 2015, LUNA Associates in San Antonio, was selected and awarded an architectural contract by the City of College Station to professionally design the Playground to be located in Central Park. (LUNA Associates was highly recommended due to their expertise gained while being the primary architect for the Morgan’s Wonderland All-ability Playground Park in San Antonio, TX that is recognized as a leading facility of its type worldwide.)

The historical highlight of 2015 was the ceremonial Ground Breaking that was celebrated in August on the site for the Playground in Central Park. State and City officials lauded the effort with inspirational speeches and the presentation of proclamations. All in attendance enjoyed good food, rides for children, a petting zoo, musical and dance entertainment and the inspirational encouragement of Coach Gary Blair (TAMU Women’s Head Basketball Coach).

The continuation of interest in the Fun For All Playground during 2016 generated donations from a diverse list of projects: Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Little Cook’s Café; Apache Oil Company; B/CS Mothers Club; Brazos Valley Fashion Week; and others. These Community efforts displayed the interest and drive to bring this project to reality. A major step toward our goal was achieved on March 31 when the College Station City Council approved the Architectural contract for Luna Architecture and Design, to complete the Phase One design. These initial detailed construction drawings were delivered to the City planning and development department in late September 2016. The ongoing review and alterations to assure compliance with all city codes and ADA regulations followed during the last months of 2016 and most of 2017.

The original design for the 1st Phase construction included the centerpiece of the Playground: a structure that includes rest/dressing rooms, picnic tables and spectator seating that faces a one-third scale football field. The façade is similar to the new Kyle Field stadium at Texas A&M University. This concept inspired many avid Aggie fans to suggest that this “mini” stadium be named to honor one of A&M’s football greats and first Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow. Hence, the stadium will be known as the “Carolyn & John David Crow Field”. In celebration, a gala evening was held in October of 2016 at the Miramont Country Club to honor his football achievements and the Crow’s service to A&M and the community. By the end of 2016, $120,348 was donated specifically for the construction of the “Carolyn & John David Crow Field”.

As we entered 2017, total giving in cash and pledges stood at $1,537,442 and construction drawings were at the 97% mark of completion. It became obvious that the available funds were insufficient to build the entire Phase 1. A decision was made to split the project into two smaller projects: Phase 1 now to be the Splash pad and Swing areas; and a Phase 2 to include the Stadium, Rest Rooms, Play Field, and Entry Plaza. The Construction Drawings were completed in September 2017 and advanced to the City agencies for final reviews and approval. This process was completed in early 2018.

The Steering Committee approved the transfer of $1,000,000 to the city for the Phase 1 contract in March 2018. Bids were advertised and opened in June, with the low bidder ($943,000) being Caprock Construction Company of College Station. The bid was approved by the City Council in July and construction began in September, 2018. Completion and opening of the first Phase of the Fun For All Playground became a reality at Central Park in August, 2019!

This project is a very large undertaking and so many dedicated citizens have unselfishly given of their time, and treasure to the effort for this Playground that will serve all our citizens in the Brazos Valley. Fundraising activities continue so that construction of Phase 2 and the Carolyn and John David Crow Field can be added to the Fun For All Playground as early as 2020.

Due to weather delays, Phase 1 of the Playground did not get completed until August, 2019. The winter and spring of 2019 had record breaking rainfall, not only in inches, but also in total days of rain. At one time the project had accumulated 180 rain days. On August 2, 2019, Phase 1 was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and Grand opening celebration. More than 300 were in attendance.

During April of 2019, a sub-committee of the Steering Committee organized a fund-raising event where two very popular former Aggie coaches were asked to speak and motivate the crowd to donate to this project. An update and video were also shown. The response was outstanding. Bryan/College Station is a very giving community, and it showed that night. The event raised $701,679 in donations and pledges.

In July of 2019, discussions had already begun about construction plans for Phase 2. The estimate for Phase 2 was $1,500,000. The lowest bid came in at $1,810,000. On September 26th, 2019, the College Station City Council approved to accept the low bid for construction of Phase 2. The committee continues in its fundraising activities to raise the required funds. Construction on Phase 2 is expected to begin before the 2019 Christmas holidays and be completed by August, 2020.

(Nov. 15, 2019)

 

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Check 2
Ceremony 4
Band 4
Ribbon Cutting 4
Playground 1

DONATE TODAY

Help us raise money to complete Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Fun for All Playground.

Special Thanks to our Partners

This project would not be possible without the help of the following organizations.

City of College StationRotary InternationalKiwanis InternationalLions Club InternationalCoach Blair Charitites

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