What does a Green Centerpiece mean in Lewisville?
Lewisville has a treasure in its backyard that few Metroplex communities have. The central part of Lewisville is largely flood plain that contains the Elm Fork of the Trinity River and diverse habitats, including bottom-land forest, prairies and many species of wildlife. The City should take advantage of Lewisville Lake and its floodway to give Lewisville a natural open space at the center of the community. This urban wilderness can be part of everyday life for all Lewisville residents. This central green space is currently home to extraordinary views, recreational activities and the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA), a consortium of local, state, and national government agencies, which has obtained a 25-year management lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The area provides visitors with opportunities for fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing and botanical/wildlife research in the heart of a city.
This Big Move supports compatible initiatives in the Green Centerpiece area,such as existing research and ongoing preservation of natural resources underway at Lewisville Lake. LLELA, in which the City and the University of North Texas (UNT) are participants, manages Corps land below the dam south to Business 121. It conducts research and opens access to the area on weekends for the general public. Also, Lewisville Independent School District (LISD) currently has an outdoor learning facility adjacent to LLELA. Additionally, the City has a plan for establishing canoe launches and take-out areas on the Elm Fork that will open up a scenic river trail through the city at minimal cost.
The vision for the Green Centerpiece is to promote and take advantage of the area as a public amenity. It will provide a distinguishable natural feature that differentiates Lewisville in the region. The City should uphold this Green Centerpiece to position Lewisville as a unique community within the DFW Metroplex. This will serve to enhance the quality of life for residents, and to establish Lewisville as a regional attraction for recreation. The area’s opportunities are recreation-focused but represent much more than simply open space and recreation. It is about sustainability, community identity, preservation, research, restoration, education, volunteerism and connection with the natural environment.
Markets for residential and non-residential uses are looking for locations connected to natural areas and open spaces, so this strategy helps Lewisville attract and keep residents and businesses. Making it the centerpiece of the future Lewisville community prevents this open space from dividing the neighborhoods to the east and west. This Big Move can position Lewisville as an extraordinary city with an urban wilderness at its core, and it will be easily accessible by a citywide network of trails as well as transit and automobile. The centerpiece has the potential to frame future surrounding land use and allow its edges to serve as site amenities for adjacent uses. Assets that relate to a community’s natural setting can set it apart over the long term, supporting sustained desirability and success.