New 52-Acre Park Site for Allen, Texas

Allen, TX, 2/2/2006: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced that a scenic heritage farm nestled in the path of industrial and residential development has been permanently protected and is slated to become a major park site for the City of Allen. The national land conservation organization acquired the 52-acre property from Molsen Farms Real Estate LTD yesterday and expects to convey it to the city later in February. The city plans to operate the property as a public heritage farm park. The future park is considered an essential addition to meeting the recreational and greenspace needs of both Allen and Collin County, one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation.

Like many North Texas communities, Allen is experiencing a major influx of residents and business. Since 1997, Allen has grown from 32,000 residents to nearly 72,000. Projections anticipate Allen will continue to grow with an additional 24,000 new residents by 2010.

Heavy residential and commercial development is consuming much of Allen’s old farm and prairie land. Although the 52-acre farm’s bucolic charm remains largely intact, it’s surrounded by industrial and multi-family development. Today the site is one of a handful of remnant working farms in Allen that remain. The city identified the Molsen Farm property as a high priority acquisition in the city’s Open Space Master Plan 2000-2010.

The city began working with The Trust for Public Land nearly four years ago to negotiate the acquisition. The purchase was made possible with $500,000 from the Collin County Parks and Open Space Funding Assistance Program as part of the Collin County Open Space Grant Program, which was established to acquire open space to serve Collin County’s rapidly-growing population. The city will match the Collin County grant and cover the remaining cost using Park Bond and Community Development Corporation funding.

“We’ve been pursuing this for fours years now. This is a great piece of property to bring in to the parks system in Allen, Texas. I think a lot of people will enjoy it,” Mayor Steve Terrell commented during the Allen city council meeting on January 24.

The city plans to preserve the natural features of the property, allowing visitors to experience the benefits of the outdoors in a distinctly old-fashioned farm setting. The Molsen Farm Community Park’s master plan is currently being developed by the city. Possible park amenities include daycamping, a community garden, educational programs including organic agriculture, and a small farm animal petting zoo. The opening of the Molsen Farm Community Park has not been scheduled.

“This future community park celebrates Allen’s agricultural past,” says TPL Project Manager Amy Wanamaker. “And now this farm will remain a part of this community’s future. Allen and Collin County are developing very quickly. The Trust for Public Land is so pleased to be a part of this crucial addition to ensure that everyone-especially children- in this community enjoys access to a natural area.”

The property is located between State Highway 5 and U.S. Highway 75, just north of the Plano and Allen border. The future park will serve both communities, allowing residents access to a natural area. The park will be Allen’s link to the future Six Cities Regional Trail system, which will eventually connect Garland, Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, and Frisco.

Since its founding in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 45 states. In Texas, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres for communities, including areas in and around Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Denton, Houston, and San Antonio. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.