Arlington celebrates its first city park, and its first municipal golf course, with the opening of Meadowbrook Park in 1924.


Arlington Garden Club awarded $1,000 prize in national contest for landscaping which results in two-acre municipal rose garden in northwest section of Meadowbrook Park.


$500 won’t take you very far in the world of real estate these days, but that’s the amount that the city paid for Senter Park. The amount represented two separate purchases, one from E.G. Senter and Company on December 30, 1946 and the other from E. Hettie Davis on February 1, 1947. Senter Park - named in honor of the father of the property donor E.G. Senter, opened in 1946. It has been leased to the Optimist Club of Arlington for youth baseball and softball since November 1952.


Lights are added to Meadowbrook Park ball fields, courtesy of W.T. Vandergriff. Field was home to highly regarded Vandergriff teams of the 1940s and 50s, and also the site of donkey baseball - another activity enjoyed by Arlington dignitaries and residents.


Melvin Shanks named first parks and recreation director.


Lake Arlington was completed on July 19, 1957. The area received more than 50 inches of rain in 1957, so much coming in April alone, that the lake filled ahead of projections. Construction of the reservoir started on May 15, 1956.


In recognition of George Stevens’ proven leadership in the community serving “The Hill”, the City of Arlington dedicated George Stevens Park in 1957. Stevens served as Principal of Booker T. Washington School (and its precursors) for more than 20 years. The school tripled in size during his tenure, from 75 pupils and 3 teachers to 230 children and 9 teachers. A Texas Historical Marker stands there today for The Hill, along with information about George Stevens.


Hugh Smith Recreation Center opens in east Arlington on New York Ave.


Lake Arlington Golf Course opens (Designed by Ralph Plummer).


Meadowbrook Recreation Center is built on the northern edge of Meadowbrook Park.


Arlington opens its third recreation center with the construction of Dottie Lynn Recreation Center.


Eunice Activity Center opens as the department’s first dedicated space for senior programming.


Bob Duncan Center opens


Listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places in Tarrant County in 1976, Marrow Bone Spring is Arlington’s only nationally recognized archaeological site. The origin of the name Marrow Bone Spring is unknown, but archaeological findings place human habitation here since ancient times.


Chester Ditto Golf Course, a Dick Nugent design, opens to the public.


Donna Brasher named Arlington’s first female parks and recreation director.


River Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), is formed as a public/private partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department.


Phase 1 of River Legacy Park opens, providing 376 acres of wooded multi-use park.


Cliff Nelson Recreation Center opens. The facility and park were named after Clifford Nelson, a community leader who was instrumental in forming five scout troops in Arlington and later received the “George Meany Award” for working with Arlington’s youth.


Jim Spangler takes over APRD director post.


Senior Rec Center New York opens.


Richard Greene Linear Park is dedicated in 1994, coinciding with the official opening of The Ballpark in Arlington. Prior to serving five terms as Mayor, Richard Greene served for more than a decade as Charmain of the Planning & Zoning Commission and mayor pro-tempore.


F.J. “Red” Kane Park is dedicated. The park namesake played professional hockey for nine seasons with stints with the Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks before settling in Arlington upon retirement. Mr. Kane was appointed to the Parks board in 1963 and served as board chair from 1976-1981.


Arlington Tennis Center opens. The award-winning public facility has garnered numerous recognitions at both the state and national level.


River Legacy Living Science Center opens to the public.


O.S. Gray Natural Area is dedicated on Nov. 2, 1997 in honor of Oscar “O.S.” Gray. The 20-acre park is located on Gray’s original pecan tree grove, which he purchased to serve as a “living laboratory” for his students interested in pecan farming and research.


Tierra Verde Golf Club opens as the first golf course in Texas and the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary.


Elzie Odom Athletic Center opens providing indoor skating rink and rock climbing attractions, in addition to traditional rec center amenities.


APRD first achieves Tree City USA designation.


Pete Jamieson named APRD director.


On Jan. 17, 2000, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Mayor Elzie Odom threw the first pitch to commemorate the official dedication and grand opening of APRD’s MLK Sports Center.


Opening of Randol Mill Family Aquatic Center


Opening of Doug Inman Miracle Field


Grand opening of Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center on May 26, 2006.


Opening night of the Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Arlington with more than 1,800 people in attendance.


Caelum Moor is reinstalled in Richard Greene Linear Park in a new configuration by the sculpture artist Norm Hines.

  • ATC Named Organization of the Year by USTA.
  • Arlington Parks and Recreation named Playful City USA from Kaboom!

Texas Christkindl Market commemorates its first year during the holiday season.


Pentatonix returns to their hometown to perform a free concert at the Levitt Pavilion, breaking the attendance record with 12,000 people attending.


Lemuel Randolph named first minority director of Arlington Parks and Recreation.

  • Department is named NRPA Gold Medal finalist
  • Wins Excellence in Operations Management award by Cartegraph.

APRD was officially accepted as a Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accredited agency on Oct. 13, 2014 at the NRPA Congress in Charlotte, NC. Arlington joined a list of just eight other accredited cities from the State of Texas.


Department earns Texas Gold Medal Award as best parks agency in the state in its class.


Named NRPA Gold Medal finalist for second time in three years.


The City and the Arlington Museum of Art begin a public art project called “Stars of Texas” with painted star statues scattered around the city.

Phase 1 of the Entertainment District Sculpture Trail and Unity Arch are unveiled.


APRD wins TAAF Silver Member City Award
and TAAF Region of the Year honors.

  • APRD named NRPA Gold Medal finalist
  • Recipient of the Excellence in Operations Management award by Cartegraph.

APRD is the Gold Medal Grand Plaque Winner as the top parks and recreation agency by NRPA.

  • IDC Smart Cities North America Award recipient
  • Winner of the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) - Excellence in Youth Sports award

Lake House Events Center - later named in honor of former council member Kathryn Wilemon, officially opens.


Texas Rangers Golf Club, on the site of the former Chester Ditto GC, opens to the public.


Grand opening of the Beacon Recreation Center on Sept. 14, 2020.


Grand opening of the East Library and Recreation Center on Nov. 9, 2020.


The clubhouse at Texas Rangers Golf Club, featuring Home Plate Restaurant and Patio, opened in March 2021.


The Southwest Nature Preserve, known by park patrons as the gem of southwest Arlington, was dedicated on Nov. 8, 2021, in honor of Sheri Capehart, a passionate environmentalist, animal lover and community leader who was also Arlington’s longest-serving City Council member.

Capehart served as the District 2 representative from 2000 to 2020 and led the efforts to acquire the 59-acre preserve.


Start date for current APRD director James Orloski.


Ground breaking for ACTIV -Arlington’s future Active Adult Center is held on Jan 9, 2022. Facility is set to open in winter 2024.


Parks department earns Texas Gold Medal Award as the best parks and recreation department in the state (class I).

Our Mission:

The mission of the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department is to provide quality facilities and services that are responsive to a diverse community and sustained with a focus on partnerships, innovation and environmental leadership.


Get the latest centennial updates

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

© 2024 Arlington Parks and Recreation. All rights reserved