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Thanksgiving Park 

Thanksgiving Park Addition – Waco, Texas 

Challenge
The Bowden Family spent almost two decades assembling the 400 acres of land known as Thanksgiving Park. Thanksgiving Park lies midway between Dallas and Austin along one of the greatest highway accomplishments in the world – IH-35. Thanksgiving Park is within the City of Waco and serves as the entrance to Waco for all northbound travelers along IH-35. The challenge put forth to Walker Partners was to plan and design a mixed-use development that is respectful of the land, complimentary to the community, and economically viable for the Developer.

Solution
Walker Partners began the master planning process by organizing and implementing a three-day design charrette. During this charrette, Walker Partners’ staff and the Developer hosted multiple stakeholders’ meetings with City Staff, City Council, neighboring builders, the local neighborhood association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Waco Independent School District, and TxDOT to get their input, ideas, and concerns regarding the development. The result of these meetings influenced a Master Plan which met of the goals of the Developer as well as energized the public stakeholders – all while incorporating many of the creative ideas generated during the charrette.

Value
The public-private partner relationships annealed during the master planning phase paved the way for the vision to be implemented that benefits all parties concerned and builds goodwill within the community. All platting, zoning, and TxDOT driveway applications were readily approved with minimal regulatory agency comment due largely in part to these team building efforts – further adding value to the Project. Phase One of Thanksgiving Park is complete and is now the new home of University High School.

A new investment group recently purchased Thanksgiving Park, and Walker Partners has been retained to guide the development in order for it to realize its full potential. Currently, Walker Partners is implementing Phase Two of the Park, consisting of a 250-unit multi-family complex.