New nature park in Fulshear makes history - and an important tool to protect against floods | Fort Bend Economic Development Council

After six years of anticipation, the first phase of Fulshear’s massive park development is open for visitors. The walking trails of Primrose Park opened for the first time on Sept. 5. The park is the first of its kind in Fulshear to be funded by the city.

Ramona Ridge, naturalist and founder of Keeping Fulshear Beautiful, has been one of the park’s largest supporters since she served on city council in 2015 when the land was purchased.

The natural beauty that is synonymous with Fulshear grows more sparse as new developers buy up the land to build new subdivisions and businesses, Ridge noted, but Primrose Park, a 25-acre preserve featuring nature trails and sports fields, will help propagate some of the native plants and animals in the area.

The park is landscaped with native trees like mature oak and pecan trees, wildflowers like bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, red phlox, gaillardia, wild verbena, coreopsis and native grasses.

Phase one offers a half-mile of trails with benches and paths along the route. For phase two, the city will build recreational space like ball fields. Ridge said that the council has received bids for the project and will vote on the contracts this month.

The city will also add a median on F.M. 1093 that will be wide enough for pedestrians to use. The working title for this area is “Paseo Park,” which will feature a picnic area, paved promenade, butterfly and wildflower meadow, picnic areas, landscaping and small parking lot.

Tajana Surlan, also a former city council member who has been supporting Primrose Park for the past six years said, “It’s an amazing park in the heart of the fastest growing city in Texas. There’s so much more to come.”

The benefits of city parks are about more than just preserving land, Ridge noted. Native plants are naturally more adept at absorbing water- a critical function for a flood-prone area.

“These native grasses have roots that can run 10-feet down. You don’t realize it because all you see is this little tiny grass above the ground,” Ridge said. “But whereas non-native species like St. Augustine have little, shallow roots, our native grasses naturally pull water down and absorb it.”

When the flood waters rise, Ridge noted, a native plant’s ability to stymie water conveyance makes an enormous difference. “These plants can suck water 10 feet down, whereas with non-native plants, that water just flows right over it.”

From an economic perspective, beautification projects create a more cohesive community and offer more recreational opportunities, which in turn draws more families to the area. “The availability of park and recreation facilities is an important quality-of-life factor for corporations choosing where to locate facilities and for well-educated individuals choosing a place to live,” Ridge said.

Moving forward, Ridge hopes the park will inspire the city to invest in more natural spaces. “I think at first, because the city had never purchased public land before, people didn’t immediately see how important these projects are,” Ridge said. “I think now that phase one is complete, it’s easier to see what a positive difference they can make.”

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