Central Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, designed by landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm MESA, has been honored with the 2011 Planning Excellence Award from the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) for its master plan and landscape design. Each year, TRAPS recognizes one park or recreation planning project (master/strategic plan) which displays a high degree of professional analysis, quality planning principles and organizational- or community-wide value.

Since opening in June 2010, the 172-acre Central Park in Grand Prairie has become a landmark destination in the community of Grand Prairie. The park features a 36-acre lake system with five lakes (two stocked with fish), three waterfalls and walking/jogging trails circling the lakes. The City of Grand Prairie is planning to move many of its most popular events to this site including the annual Kid Fish festival.  Central Park’s first phase of development includes the new public safety facility and The Summit at Central Park, an innovative recreation center for active 50-plus citizens. Both facilities provide programmatic anchors for the park and help integrate it into the daily lives of city residents. Restored prairie and wetlands also offer outdoor educational opportunities for visitors.

“From New York City’s famed Central Park to Grand Prairie’s very own, the power of parks and well-designed outdoor spaces to engage and activate communities is universal. Everyone at MESA is proud of our work on this project and we’re grateful for the leadership and vision of Grand Prairie’s Mayor, City Council and Parks and Recreation Department to make this wonderful community resource a reality,” said Stan Cowan, principal at MESA.

The Planning Excellence Award, as well as a variety of scholarships and other individual member and state-wide project honors, was officially awarded at the TRAPS annual convention, held in March 2011, in McAllen, Texas.