The city of Mesquite has earned the special recognition from Texas Recreation and Parks Society, as City Lake Park was one of only eight Texas parks honored in 2021 with a prestigious Lone Star Legacy Park designation.
Elizabeth Harrell, director of parks and recreation, said, “Each year, the Texas Recreation and Park Society designates a park that holds special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas as a Lone Star Legacy Park. These parks have endured the test of time and have become iconic to those who have visited, played and rested on their grounds. A Lone Star Legacy designation is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a park in the state of Texas.”
The award was presented at Monday’s City Council meeting. Mayor Bruce Archer said, “This really is a proud moment for our community. A lot of us grew up swimming, playing basketball and baseball, and fishing at City Lake Park. It is the centerpiece of our parks system and part of the historic fabric of our community. We are so grateful for the efforts of the Parks and Recreation Department to achieve this wonderful recognition.”
Construction on Mesquite’s City Lake Park began in 1947 after the property was donated by N. E. Shands along with Anson and Raymond Holley. It was the first property set aside in the community to be used for recreational purposes. Community leaders envisioned the park to be a central gathering point for the community because of its location just south of downtown Mesquite. The proposed plan for the park was six acres that included a lake, a community building, picnic areas and a public swimming pool.
As the population of Mesquite grew in the 1950s and 1960s additional acreage was acquired, and a little league baseball field was added bringing the total park size to 12 acres. In 2018, with help from Historic Mesquite Incorporated, the Texas Historical Commission honored City Lake Park with the designation of a certified historical site. In 2020, an additional acre was added for the construction of the new Mesquite Veterans Memorial. Today, the park is home to many beloved amenities including City Lake Aquatic Center, Loncy Leake Baseball Field, Lakeside Activity Center and City Lake ADA playground.
While the community has changed over the years, this particular park remains a premier location for people to gather and take advantage of the scenery and varied amenities. From its humble beginnings, City Lake Park continues to serve as a jewel in Mesquite’s park system maintaining a rich history and offering unique opportunities for quality recreation.
A Lone Star Legacy Park is classified as a park that holds special prominence in the local community and the state of Texas. To qualify for consideration, the park must have endured the test of time and become iconic to those who have visited, played, and rested on its grounds. Nominated parks must be a minimum of 50 years old and had to meet the following criteria:
- The property represents distinctive design and/or construction.
- The park is associated with historic events or sites.
- The park is associated with events specific to the local community/state.
- The park is home to unique natural features.
The Texas Recreation and Parks Society is a non-profit 501(c)3 professional and educational organization with a membership of more than 2,000 professionals. It is committed to advancing the field of parks, recreation, and leisure services in Texas, while advocating for enhanced recreation opportunities and the increase of public green space for Texans.