1008 Ruby Street, Arlington TX 76010
FEATURES / AMENITIES:
- 67.4 acres
- Approximately a mile-long hike and bike trail
- Covered playground for ages 2-5
- Covered playground for ages 5-12
- Pavilion (available for rent)
- Park benches
- Bike rack
- 24 parking spaces
ABOUT THE PARK:
The completed park is located between Pecan Street and Collins Street, east of the University of Texas at Arlington. Center Street runs through the park, which is located south of downtown Arlington and also surrounded by several neighborhoods.
"It will be an opportunity for residents to experience nature within an urban setting," Park Project Manager Mitali Mandlekar said.
Julia Burgen Park is a dream that has been years in the making. Empty streets and crumbling sidewalks are the only signs left that the park site was once residential neighborhoods. In 1999, the City of Arlington used federal funding to purchase and tear down more than 100 flood-prone homes along Johnson Creek.
As part of the Johnson Creek Corridor Plan, Arlington plans to eventually create a series of linked linear parks that stretch from Gateway Park near the Parks at Arlington Mall up to the Richard Greene Linear Park near AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. The Julia Burgen Park will help eventually close the gap between Vandergriff Park and Meadowbrook Park.
"Trails are our highest requested amenity in our park system," Assistant Parks Director Gary Packan said.
As part of its priority to Champion Great Neighborhoods, the Arlington City Council supports projects such as linear parks that are designed to improve the quality of life for residents.
Parks along creeks and rivers benefit people, wildlife and help preserve those corridors, Mandlekar said.
"They are very important within an urban setting because they almost function as a city's lungs. That's how the city can breathe. With all that development happening all around, parks and open spaces are extremely essential," Mandlekar said. "They help preserve natural habitat and are very important corridors for the wildlife, especially within an urban setting. Julia Burgen Park will also function as a significant linkage within the residential communities and UTA campus."
Mandlekar imagines families and children from the surrounding neighborhoods visiting the park and exploring its trails and natural beauty.
"With so much technology available to children, this element of experiencing and connecting with nature is so important," Mandlekar said. "It's amazing to grow up on a street where you can say "I have this beautiful park,' where you can build memories, not just with your family but with your friends."
Julia Burgen Park is an example of dreams getting done.
The park is named for former Arlington City Council member Julia Burgen, well-known for her environmental activism.
"Julia Burgen dramatically increased the environmental awareness of the overall community and the political community – from protections we have now for trees to expanded landscaping requirements," said Donna Darovich, Parks and Recreation Board Chair.
O.K. Carter, Arlington historian and former publisher of the original Arlington Citizen-Journal, is one of many left impressed by Burgen's passion for nature."
Burgen held a copy of the Citizen-Journal in one hand when she first walked into my office, the other hand holding a bribe — a dogwood tree sapling about six inches high that a few minutes earlier had been growing in her front yard. The lead photo on the front page showed a long stretch of busy Arlington street with a circus of competing signage splashed across acres of parking lot asphalt," Carter said.
"She outlined a couple of then-dramatic ideas that included landscaping requirements and signage limitations before launching into her favorite topic, mitigating tree loss and planting more of them. Lots more. Very soon she would run for the Arlington Council and become a champion for environmental enhancements. I planted the dogwood in the newspaper courtyard. It's now fully grown and offers a seasonal explosion of aroma and white-blossomed beauty. Multiply that little tree by a few thousand and you get just a little sense of Burgen's impact on this community," Carter said.