Ridgmar Neighborhood Association

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The property on which Mary and Marvin Leonard Park is located was originally donated to Fort Worth by the Leonards as the site for a school that was never built. Throughout the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s the property was used as an unofficial neighborhood park. The only improvements in the park were the baseball backstop that still stands in its original location in the NE corner, plus a wonderful slide, swing set, and a kid-powered merry-go-round on top of the hill under one old withered-looking hackberry tree that managed to hang in there until it finally died in 2008 and was cut down.

 

In1982 it became apparent that a school would never be built on the location and the city returned (or sold) the property back to the Leonards. Long story made short: the RNA successfully convinced the city to save the park and purchase the property back from the Leonards. Although the Leonards planned to develop the property and build more that 20 homes on it, they were good enough to sell it back to the city for a fraction of its worth—80-some thousand dollars. Now Ridgmar really had a park.

 

The Park Department allowed the newly formed RNA Park Board to participate in the design of the park. After several General Membership Meetings to gain neighborhood consensus, it was decided that the park would be named Marvin Leonard Park and remain an open, bucolic area, primarily intended for walk-in use of neighborhood residents, with minimal improvements limited to a surrounding half-mile walk and playground area. The city raised funds through a bond to cover the purchase of the property and develop the park. Fun as the ‘50s era swing, slide and merry-go-round were, they didn’t meet modern OSHA standards and everything except 2/3rds of the original swing set were removed in favor of the “safer” equipment installed in what we now call “the old playground area” near the location of the original equipment (and lone hackberry).

 

Unfortunately, the city only had enough funds to develop half of the park. Besides the playground, only the short south loop of the walk, and the trees and irrigation system on the south half were installed at that time. The longer north loop was not installed until several years later—1984 I think—when sufficient funds became available. The trees and irrigation system in the north were not installed until the mid-Nineties, at which point the Park was re-dedicated Mary and Marvin Leonard Park. At a cost well more than $50,000, the city constructed the fabulous new playground a few years ago.

 

The Fort Worth Park Department has been very responsive to resolving park-related issues such as replacing dead trees, repairing major breaks in the irrigation system, graffiti removal, and maintaining the playground equipment.

 

Since the development of the park in 1982, the RNA has had an active Park Board consisting of a group of residents that live across from, or near the park. This group of dedicated volunteers is involved with all park-related issues, operates and does all but major maintenance on the tree irrigation system, and often accomplishes quite a bit of park clean up and refuse removal.

 

As an example of what Ridgmar residents are willing to do to support the park: last October the city had no funds to weed-eat the park and it became overgrown and unsightly. A group of volunteers consisting of Kenneth and Karen Janak, Don Westerheide, Connie and Angela Holcombe, Randy and Tami Ellis, Bryan Obert, Daniel Osborne, and Jim and Barbara Diggs (I hope I didn’t leave anyone out) spent the better part of a Saturday in the park, weed-wacking and picking up trash. Hopefully, the city will not allow the park to become overgrown again. However, if necessary, I am certain that these, and other volunteers, will spring to action and do whatever is required to keep our park looking ship-shape.

 

Park related issues or questions should be referred to admin@ridgmar.net, or contact one of the Park Board Members.

 
Larry Patterson


Park Board Members

 

Larry Patterson                                   817-732-8683
pukacat@sbcglobal.net

Carol Patterson                                   817-732-8683

Patterson-consult@sbcglobal.net


Stephanie Patterson                            817-312-2977

 

Angela Holcomb                                 817-738-6059
twopupsmom@sbcglobal.net


Connie Holcomb                                 817-738-6059


Tami Ellis                                            817-456-7391

tami.ellis@sbcglobal.net

Jim Diggs                                            817-731-1601

diggshomes@usa.net                      

 


                           Old Plaryground circa 1975
 

 

    
    


    



    

New playground







Ballons land in park 1985
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