Richard Simpson Park is a 9-acre city park on the shoreline of Lake Arlington. It is one of only two Arlington parks that provide public access to Lake Arlington for recreational usage. The park is named after Richard W. Simpson, a lifetime resident of Arlington who served on the Arlington Police Department’s Special Tactical Unit and as Lake Officer for 13 years. Mr. Simpson was known for his tireless work around Lake Arlington and rare ability to be a friend to anyone in need. During his tenure as Lake Officer he received three lifesaving awards for his service to the community.
The 2008 Bond Election included $1 million to replace the existing Richard Simpson Park lake activity room and office, which was constructed in 1960. This building is used for a variety of rental and recreational activities. The building has many physical condition and accessibility challenges, and due to its location in the 100 year floodplain, options for reinvesting in the structure are very limited. Since the park did not have a master plan, the project included site master planning, including relocation of the lake activity room and office building where it can be elevated from the floodplain. With the park infrastructure being 30-plus years of age, the master plan will also provide guidance for any future improvements as we retire aging assets.
A primary objective of the master planning process was to evaluate options for relocating the building to higher ground, toward the center of the park. Current code requires inhabitable structures to be built at least two feet above the 100-year floodplain. The proposed location would require the building to be elevated five feet to meet this requirement. This location preserves the building’s relationship with the lake, but is more central to the park and provides more buffer for the neighborhood.
In 2015, the City Council directed staff to proceed with design of phase one improvements estimated at $4 million. The proposed construction will be funded through the 2008 Bond Referendum and Arlington Tomorrow Foundation. Proposed phase one improvements include:
• New lake rental building and office (approximately 4,100 square feet)
• Adjoining restrooms to replace the existing park restroom building
• Accompanying event garden
• New pavilion
• Fishing pier
• Walking trail
• Picnic stations
• Parking lot modifications with automated gate
• Accessibility improvements
• Landscaping and irrigation
• Removal of the existing looped roadway
• Bio-swale to accommodate drainage from Arkansas Lane and the existing parking lot
• Drop-off areas adjacent to the new lake rental building and the pavilion for customer convenience
To view the Richard Simpson Park Master Plan (phase one), please click on the green tab below.