-By Julia Steege-Reimann-
Since 2014, Flower Mound, Texas has almost doubled the amount of land set aside for parks, opened a new Senior Center, and launched many new programs at their Community Activity Center (CAC).
What has made all of these ambitious upgrades possible? Resident feedback.
“The Town’s commitment to excellence in Parks and Recreation is directly attributed to the residents of the Town of Flower Mound. Through open engagement, Town staff has implemented the requests, wants, and needs of the community,” said JP Walton, Assistant to the Town Manager.
Data show that Flower Mound’s residents are happy with its recreation and wellness opportunities. The City regularly conducts The National Community Survey (The NCS) to gather feedback from community members. Flower Mound’s residents rate all aspects of Recreation and Wellness higher than the national benchmark. The NCS is the gold-standard in resident opinion surveys on community livability.
“Flower Mound’s leaders work tirelessly to involve residents in planning for the future of recreation and wellness opportunities in their town,” said Damema Mann, Director of National Engagement for Polco.
These efforts led Flower Mound to receive the 2020 Voice of the People award for Excellence in Recreation and Wellness. This is the only national award that honors local governments based on feedback from residents. The award is presented by Polco and the International City & County Management Association (ICMA).
This award acknowledges local governments with the highest ratings from The NCS and that take the best actions on behalf of their communities.
“During multiple public input sessions and through The NCS, the residents of the Town of Flower Mound have consistently expressed their desire to have the best parks, trails, and recreation opportunities available,” said Walton.
So it became the mission of the Town leaders to meet their residents’ wishes.
The Town incorporated a 4B sales tax that directly funds park improvements and the expansion of recreation opportunities. This funding helped to increase parkland, open the Senior Center, and expand programming at the CAC. In fact, expanded programming at the CAC led to many new members. In 2019, new CAC members made up 40% of all the members of the Center.
To guide the future direction of recreation and wellness opportunities in Flower Mound, leaders developed a Parks and Trails Master Plan. Leaders incorporated significant resident feedback into the plan.
“It is this direct public engagement and communication that has allowed the Town to provide the services that the residents desire,” said Walton.
In fact, everytime Flower Mound plans for a park, they hold multiple public hearing and public input opportunities.
“This process allows residents to directly steer innovative park designers to create an end-product that is not only responsive to the needs of the community but also incorporates new and exciting elements,” said Walton.
As a result of the Parks and Trails Master Plan, Flower Mound intends to build an additional 214 acres of parkland, tennis courts, multi-use trails, small neighborhood parks, nature trails, outdoor swimming pools, outdoor amphitheaters, and an off-leash dog park.
In addition to increasing recreation opportunities, Flower Mound’s leaders also focus on bringing health and wellness-related businesses to the Town.
The Economic Development Department provided economic incentives to bring Flower Mound’s first hospital to town. After the hospital opened, The Town recruited additional medical and wellness-oriented businesses to develop the surrounding property.
“The Town remains committed to implementing resident direction, will continue to promote resident engagement and communication, and will adapt our future recreation and wellness opportunities to the feedback we receive,” said Walton.