City Of Lubbock Envisions Park As Effort To Revitalize Downtown
Since 2010, Lubbock’s population has grown over 10%, according to Lubbock Economic Development Alliance. It is currently hovering just over 260,000 residents. As Lubbock’s population grows, so does the demand to revitalize the city’s downtown area. With new plans to build a civic park, people hope this will draw more business to the area.
Next to Lubbock’s First United Methodist Church on Broadway, cars drive slowly past the former LP&L building. The old, beige building is slated to change into a one-and-a-half-acre greenspace that will bring people downtown. The City of Lubbock has plans to tear down the building soon and build a beautiful park.
The Lubbock Downtown Redevelopment board is working to update downtown and bring more attention to the area. Robert Taylor, the chairman of the board, is heading up the park project.
“It’s hard to have a downtown without any green spaces,” Taylor said.
According to Lubbock’s Parks and Recreation department, Lubbock has 81 city parks, but there are not any downtown.
“We’ve got new office buildings; we’ve got a lot of things going, but we’ve got to be totally honest with ourselves,” Taylor continued. “Even today when we drive downtown, it’s not where we want it to be.”
A 2013 plan to revitalize downtown recommended transforming the intersection of Broadway and Avenue J. According to Imagine Lubbock Together, this plan incorporated streetscapes along the road, equipped with shady trees, benches and seating areas. As of 2021, none of this has been done.
The plans for the new downtown park were approved in December 2019. Taylor said having a civic park would create a centralized area in town for people to gather.
“It’s a large green space for all the citizens of Lubbock, not just the ones that live downtown,” he said.
Some residents have mixed feelings about the new park. Samantha Zaragoza has lived in Lubbock for four years. She said she often takes her four children to parks and playgrounds. She is concerned older parks – like Maxey Park – will be neglected.
“I think I’ve only seen a swing there one time when there were probably six slots for swings,” she explained.
Zaragoza said she is excited about having a new area downtown to bring her family. Her main concern is having enough funding for older parks, as well.
“We can build new things here in Lubbock, but we also need to maintain the things we already have so we can still enjoy those parks, too,” she said.
Taylor said the Development Board sent out surveys to gage which features residents would like to see in the new park. There were just under 1,000 responses with mostly positive comments. Most responses expressed interest in a water feature, parking and shaded areas.
While initiatives like the city park are underway to revamp downtown, progress has already been made. Developments like the new Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences and the Cotton Court Hotel are a few examples. Marcus Latner, the general manager of the Cotton Court, said the hotel is helping revitalize downtown by bringing something new to the market.
“Bringing that downtown brings more people downtown,” he said. “Hopefully, it will encourage more establishments to come into downtown, as well.”
According to McDougal Companies, which owns most of the land downtown, revitalizing downtown will increase the area’s values from $27 million to $800 million by the year 2030. Their ultimate vision is to transform downtown into a “city within a city.”
As of June 2021, there is not a projected date for when the park will be completed. There are plans to unveil the final park concept in July, and fund raising will begin after that. Once the funds have been raised, construction will begin.