(April 21, 2017) Frisco celebrates Earth Day this Saturday, April 22, by dedicating a greenbelt featuring trails, wetlands and ponds – plus platforms for fishing and viewing wildlife. A brief ceremony marking the ‘official’ grand opening of Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt starts at 10 a.m. and includes a butterfly release. The ceremony will take place near a greenbelt entrance at 3925 Bear Creek Lane.
Cottonwood Creek Trail connects Teel Parkway to the Dallas North Tollway (DNT). Approximately two miles in length, the 12-foot wide trail winds its way through Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt, which spans 77 acres through Shaddock Creek and Heather Creek Estates.
“We’re very excited to open Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt,” said Will Sowell, Mayor Pro Tem. “Growing our parks and trail systems are high priorities for our council. This project helps us meet several of our strategic focus areas ranging from ‘public health’ to ‘leisure and culture’ or even ‘sustainability’. We want to thank developer
Bill Shaddock and his family for partnering with us on this wonderful, naturalized ecosystem tucked within an urban area,” added Sowell.
The ‘Cottonwood Creek’ project partnership between Shaddock Development and the City of Frisco dates back more than a decade. Shaddock envisioned an area where kids, of all ages, could explore nature in a non-landscaped, somewhat ‘wild’ setting like he experienced as a boy growing up in Orange, Texas.
“I think we have created a unique and natural wildlife setting which forever will be enjoyed by kids and adults,” said Bill Shaddock, owner/partner, Shaddock Development. “We live too much of our lives in an office, cube and cell phone setting. I know that people will feel emotionally recharged when they experience the park, which should have the additional benefit of improving their physical health. I’m joyful and proud of our results.”
Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt sits in a flood plain that includes a floodway. As a result, the area will be maintained differently than other city parks. Staff will mow approximately four to six feet on either side of the trail. Native Buffalo Grass, Switchgrass and other Blackland prairie grasses typically grow higher and will seldom be cut. These native grasses require little water. When watering is necessary, reused and recycled water will be used.
“We intend to preserve this greenbelt naturally. It won’t be mowed and manicured, so to speak, like our other parks,” said Rick Wieland, Director of Parks and Recreation. “We want people to experience nature and the outdoors differently than they do at our other facilities. I think we have something very special at Cottonwood Creek.”
Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt is home to four off channel ponds complemented by a fishing and wildlife viewing platforms. Recently, Texas Parks and Wildlife stocked the ponds with Red Ear and Blue Gill Sunfish, plus Largemouth Bass.
There are two historic, iron bridges onsite that were awarded to Frisco by Denton County. Constructed in 1904, the Ganzer Road Bridge at Milam Creek spans 25 feet and once provided service to I-35 in Denton County. The Tom Cole Road Bridge at Hickory Creek was built in 1910 and was on a feeder road to FM156. Both reclaimed bridges were relocated to Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt in 2015.
Loren Sauer has been looking forward to the greenbelt’s grand opening since moving to the neighborhood in 2006. As chairman of the Parks and Recreation board, Sauer says the board is excited about adding this greenbelt to the city’s inventory and learning how to maximize other floodplain properties.