The planned B.B. Owen Park at Trinity Falls will no doubt quickly become a recreational destination for North Texas. Backed by a generous $11 Million endowment from the B.B. Owen Trust, this 300-acre park will feature athletic fields, an amphitheater, multiple playgrounds, picnic areas, and miles of nature and interpretive trails. What makes this park truly special, however, is its role in preserving a significant section of the Trinity River corridor.
Located in McKinney, Texas in an area just ripe for development, the Elm Fork of the Trinity River and its surrounding floodplain might have been viewed only as something that should be mitigated to allow for more construction. Instead, thanks in large part to the priorities set by the B.B. Owen Trust, this river corridor will be preserved and celebrated as part of the site’s heritage and part of the larger North Texas ecosystem.
The Trinity River spans 710 miles, beginning north of Dallas and running to Trinity Bay southeast of Houston. It is the longest river contained entirely within the state of Texas and its East Fork runs directly along the eastern edge of the Trinity Falls community. The preservation and enhancement of this corridor will promote habitat connectivity along the river, allowing plants, fish, and wildlife to grow and migrate in a natural, healthy environment. Wildlife are naturally on the move for a myriad of reasons – for food sources, changing climate, and claiming new ground to call home. When their habitat is disrupted, it often leads to those plant and animal species becoming endangered. Trinity Falls and B.B. Owens Park together seek to protect this important natural ecosystem and provide an opportunity for residents of the community to learn to appreciate these all-important natural systems.
In addition to preserving the river corridor, the design team was charged with creating community infrastructure to protect it from the potentially harmful effects of development and human activity. One key feature of the design is the regional detention pond system. On the surface, residents will experience these natural-looking ponds as amenities than can be used for activities like fishing and canoeing. But these ponds serve a dual purpose in that they capture stormwater when it rains, slowing the flow and retaining volume so it does not overwhelm the community or the river itself. The water is filtered through the pond, a process which naturally removes harmful toxins and sediments that are common byproducts of urban runoff and residential development. This process also cools the water down to a more natural temperature before it is released back into the river.
Rarely does a new residential community in the Metroplex benefit from a recreational and environmental gift of this scale. While the residents of Trinity Falls will surely benefit from convenient access to such a diversity of natural landscapes and recreational pursuits, the real legacy of B. B. Owen Park at Trinity Falls is its commitment to preserving the natural landscape and habitat of North Texas for generations to come.