One of Denison’s newest and largest attractions turned one year old this weekend. A first birthday celebration for the Texoma Health Foundation Park was held Saturday.


The event included activities for children and families.


“This is kind of an eclectic group of activities we have going on today for the celebration,” Denison Parks and Rec Director Justin Eastwood said.


The 80-acre park and athletic complex officially opened to the public one year ago on Aug. 18, 2018 after nearly three years of development. Eastwood said organizers chose to hold the celebration this weekend due to scheduling.


Talks of building a regional park first started gaining traction in early 2014 when members of the city council discussed possible projects during the annual budget retreat. These early conversations led to a partnership with Texoma Health Foundation and Gateway Village for the development of the park in Nov. 2015.


For Saturday’s festivities organizers had set up bounce houses, touch-a-truck area, a water slide, an obstacle course and other attractions for kids. For the adults, the event featured a “Walk with a Doc” which allowed visitors to walk around the park and speak with physicians from Texoma Medical Center.


Eastwood said the first year of the park was a success and saw high attendance on most weekends.


“It has been great and we’ve seen consistent flow between our programs,” he said. “You not only have your community members coming, but you also have the regional pull from the park.”


The biggest draw thus far has been the department’s youth programs, Eastwood continued. Adult programs have mainly been centered around special events and walks, but Eastwood plans to expand that this fall with a kickball league.


Among those who were in attendance for Saturday’s event was Amber Green, of Oklahoma, who was holding a birthday party for her daughter at the park. Little did she know that it was also the venue’s birthday.


“We had already decided to come out this weekend when we found out (about the celebration),” she said. “So it all kind of worked out.”


In the past year, Green said she has been to the park with her family about four times and feels it is a good amenity for the city. Her kids, however, mostly enjoy it for the splash pad, she said.


Is there an amenity that makes THF Park different from other area parks? Let reporter Michael Hutchins know at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.