What Do We Need?

Park needs are determined primarily by three factors: park standards, benchmark comparisons and public demand. 

  • Park standards are industry-recognized calculations based on the population, such as 'A city should have one mile of trail for every 5000 residents.' These numbers are determined by average usage and each community's standard is somewhat unique to them based on their own population. A city that is primarily retirees, for example, does not need as many playgrounds or ball fields per population as a town full of young families.
  • Benchmark comparisons are an analysis of inventory in similar communities to see differences. It's important to choose cities with similar demographic and economic makeup, as well as fairly similar land/environmental makeup. A largely urban community will not have the same facilities as one in the country, and a very wealthy community's amenities will likely far overshadow its less fortunate counterparts and is not a fair comparison. Benchmarks of similar cities, however, are very helpful to get a picture of what our neighbors are doing, and what potential residents will see when choosing where to live.
  • Public demand is based on the community the parks is serving, with special attention to changing trends in demographics or activity use. Some feedback is direct, in the form of surveys and questions/requests to staff, and other feedback is determined by usage, i.e. which parks and/or amenities are very popular and which are seeing fewer visitors?


  • In 2020, Mansfield needs 5 playgrounds, 10 miles of trail, 105 acres of parks and one family aquatic center to meet current population standards
  • By 2030, Mansfield will need 14 playgrounds, one recreation center, two aquatic centers, two splash pads and 250 acres of parkland to meet the needs of the projected population growth
  • 45% of Mansfield residents live in the Northeast quadrant (North of Walnut Creek, East of 287) which has the fewest number of playgrounds
  • Only 20% of all Mansfield residents live within a 10-min walk to a park, a key guideline established by the National Recreation and Park Association. The national average is close to 50%.


  • Grapevine has 20k fewer residents but double the playgrounds and aquatic options plus five times as many miles of trail
  • Flower Mound has almost identical population and park acreage as Mansfield but twice as many playgrounds and 59 miles of trail to our 5
  • North Richland Hills is slightly smaller in population and total acreage and has a similar playground count but has a large indoor rec center with fitness and aquatics, and 30 miles of trail


  • Recent public feedback can be found on this page, detailing 2019 survey results
  • MAC Expansion and family aquatic center were the highest priority projects on the 2009 Parks Master Plan but not completed.
  • Youth sports is on a nationwide downward trend, as more kids specialize in one sport and/or choose select competitive teams over recreational sports. Mansfield has seen similar changes, with all sports reporting fewer participants in 2019 than 2010, despite a population increase of more than 32% in that time span.
  • Gym-free fitness was already on an upward trend thanks to boot camp style fitness groups, but COVID-19 accelerated that when people were forced to find new, safe ways to work out. This amplified our need for more trails and flexible amenities like outdoor fitness stations, sport courts and other activities guests can use for fitness.
  • Visitors are seeking a more creative and entertaining experience, with photo-ready spaces or unique adventures they can post and share with friends and family. Parks and programs should be designed with that in mind.
  • Mansfield's fastest growing population segment is age 55+, and today's seniors want more active and engaging options, both indoor and out.