Residents of the Overton and Foster communities gathered for a public meeting this month to further discuss 16 key elements that will be emphasized in the master plan to enhance the Overton and Foster parks.

Friends of Overton and Foster Park Association, a non-profit organization, is coordinating a plan to revamp the parks within the two communities. Since its Jan. 21 meeting, the association is now in the process of finalizing the project’s plan.

The meeting covered topics including improving the appearance of the parks, making plans for reforestation, implementing bike lanes and revamping sidewalks and pathways.

During the group’s first public meeting last year, 42 topics were discussed regarding potential park plans. Of those, 16 points made it through the refining process to be presented at the second public meeting held Jan. 21, the association’s president, Tom Hutchinson said.

Planned improvements include the following:

· taking care of mature trees,

· restoring the duck pond

· implementing a reforestation plan

· improving the parks’ appearance

· planting native perennials

· controlling upstream trash

· protecting native plants and meadows through no-mow zones

· improving walkability

· creating bike lanes

· adding street lighting

· revamping trails and bridges

· updating sidewalks and pathways

· preserving the habitat for wildlife

· planting more trees and brush under larger trees

· enhancing the playgrounds

· and creating art in the park.

Hutchinson said the project is intended to enhance the natural appearance and improve the safety and use of the parks. He said the parks deserve additional attention because of the “dwindling amount of city funds” earmarked for such projects.

Landscape designer Tom Alves said the Overton and Foster Park master plan builds on existing features of the parks within the area.

Some residents who attended the meeting voiced concerns about the new street lighting additions as well as the traffic they may bring. Also, some residents asked about making efforts to get bikers off the sidewalks and about potential parking changes that could occur with creating bike lanes.

 Steve Weiss, who has lived next to Overton Park for four and a half years, said he was concerned about how parking would be affected if the bike lanes were implemented. He also asked if standing water from restoring areas such as the duck pond might pose mosquito problems.

Hutchinson said concerns raised during the meeting and those that residents submitted after the meeting will be considered as the project begins to finalize the master plan.

Although the plan has not yet been put to action, on Jan. 15 the Overton and Foster Park master plan became one of three finalists for the Mayor’s 2013 Civic Engagement and Community Collaboration award.

Hutchison said although they did not win the award, he “was amazed we were a finalist.”

The FOFPA will begin a fundraising campaign for the project. Anyone wanting to donate can write a check to Streams and Valleys and designate it to Friends of Overton and Foster Park Association. Checks should be mailed to 4001 Inwood Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.