Katy’s Newest Park is Open for Business

2011-09-22-wfdd-parks-plan-21-728On Sunday, November 6th with spotty rain falling, Willow Fork Drainage District (WFDD) officially opened its new 32 acre park behind Cinco Ranch High School with an afternoon Ribbon Cutting held under the park’s new pavilion. Clearly visible from the Grand Parkway, the park has hundreds of thousands of motorists daily watching the construction with anticipation of it’s opening.
The park has been named Willow Fork Park and is accessible from the first entrance to Cinco Ranch High School closest to the Grand Parkway. Parking is plentiful for patrons to the facility.
Willow Fork Park will be a wonderful place for all to enjoy rolling hills, long trails, enormous grassy areas and the 4.5 acre two level lake. The north end of the larger lake has a stone wall that holds back the upper level lake. When water levels are higher, water will flow over the stone wall into the lower lake. Amenities within the park include trails, playground, 18-hole disc golf course, and the pavilion. In the future, the lake will be a catch and release fishing area. According to park officials, there will not be any artificial stocking of the lake but will let nature work its magic. Operators of the facility say that birds will bring in fish eggs and naturally create a fish pond. Over the next two years you will likely start to see some fish out there, starting out small and getting bigger. The bottom of the lake has been shaped for the fish as it is naturally stocked over time. The lake bottom was built with different depths to create different habitats.
The park is massive and has a restroom, with another restroom building planned for construction the other side of the park in the future. There is a playground located near the entrance of the park. Willow Fork Park will be a great place for all to enjoy Frisbee golf, picnics or flying kites. You can also run, jog or go biking. Developers have created several different habitats with a little bit of piney woods and a little bit of Katy Prairie.
WFDD is waiting for CenterPoint Energy to install the electricity for the bathrooms and for the security cameras. There is solar lighting throughout which makes the park environmentally friendly. Additionally, safety is very important to WFDD so that all patrons will enjoy the park. “There will be a combination of Security Guards on the premises as well as video monitoring so that the park has security 24 hours a day 7 days a week,” said WFDD Director Dan Smith. The park will be open dawn to dusk.
Developers are working with the adjacent Municipal Utility District on getting reclaimed water to serve the lake and all the irrigation systems in the future. Cinco Ranch has had a big push to use reused water.
Willow Fork Park will also be educational for all using signs throughout the park to highlight the animals and birds that will call the facility home. Landscapers have planed native and naturalized plant species that will help reduce the amount of irrigation needed.
The property is actually owned by the Katy Independent School District and is operated by WFDD as part of a 50-year lease. President of the WFDD Board, Richard Ward said, “We have talked to realtors and they believe that with the new park, it will help increase property values,” however “we do not believe that it will reduce actual property taxes.”
The pavilion was named after richard Ward long time Director and President of WFDD. Ward was surprised after the Ribbon Cutting as a plaque bearing his name was unveiled. The ribbon cutting ceremony featured Rebecca Fox, President of Katy ISD Board of Trustees, Dr. Lance Hindt, Superintendent of Katy ISD and WFDD Director’s John Poulter, April Renberg, Joe Robinson, Dan Smith and Richard Ward.
We encourage our readers to visit the park and make use of its amenities.