Elgin Memorial Park was created in the 1930s as a place for soldiers stationed at Camp Swift to reunite with their families under the canopy of cedar elms. Elgin Memorial Park is a community park consisting of 24 forested acres with natural pathways, a ball field, a small concession stand, restrooms, two sand volleyball courts, one basketball court, one tennis court, horseshoe and washer pits, playground, covered and uncovered picnic tables, grills, and scattered park benches. There are also two covered pavilions popular for private rentals and events.
The upgraded playground was made possible by the St. David's Foundation "Parks with a Purpose" grant. Other recreational features were provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The Edible Arbor Walk Project began in 2018 with the planting of a handful of donated fruit trees. Year after year the Elgin Parks and Recreation Department partners with the community to plant new fruit, shade, nut, and evergreen trees in Elgin Memorial Park to increase the biodiversity in our park, provide hands-on learning opportunities, and allow park patrons to grab a snack straight from the tree.
The Elgin Recreation Center was originally constructed in 2018 with the standard Texas landscaping of drought tolerant plants that offer little in the way of visual interest or support to local fauna. The monoculture of grey santolina blended in with the concrete and made the building a stark figure in the surrounding Elgin Memorial Park. As the home of the Elgin Parks & Recreation Department, this lack of biodiversity struck a jarring chord, urging staff and Rec Members to work together to transform the space from “traditional landscaping” to a biologically diverse, drought tolerant garden that supports pollinators and other wildlife. Not only did the staff of the Elgin Recreation Center want something attractive that better represented their commitment to our natural environment, but they also set the goal of creating a space that encouraged community members to become active environmental stewards at home.
Since the project to convert the existing landscape to a Pollinator Garden began in 2019, the Santolina, Brake-Light Agave and occasional Crepe Myrtles have been supplemented with Greggs Mistflower, Datura, Salvias, Bluebonnets and other native wildflowers as well as plants donated from the community such as Milkweed, Lantana, Plumbago, Cannas, Cosmos, Marigolds, and more. Staff and volunteers are focusing on including as many native plants in the Pollinator Garden as possible to ensure that native flora is represented but are accompanying these plants with adaptive plants that are of equal value as host plants or nectar plants to support the newly returned wildlife.
This community and volunteer driven project began in the Fall of 2021 as a way to reclaim parkland as a native environment for both flora and fauna. The Stepping Stone Texas Native Restoration Area lends itself to be an educational space where park patrons can experience an original Texas landscape as original settlers would have experienced, learn about the benefits of native plants and experience native in a hands on way. This is a long-term and ongoing project; as time goes on, the environment will change and develop.
Elgin Memorial Park received necessary restroom updates in 2022 as the City of Elgin's in-kind contribution to the St. David's "Parks with a Purpose" Grant. These new restrooms are scheduled to be open to the public by the end of 2022.
A big thank you to Acme Brick for donating the brick for the exterior of the park restroom building.
2020 Elgin Memorial Park Improvements
In the Fall of 2019, the City of Elgin was the recipient of the St. David's Foundation "Parks with a Purpose" grant of $199,909. This money funded the upgrade of Elgin Memorial Park's playground to include updated equipment, shade structure, accessible surfacing and fitness equipment (completed 2020), as well as additional walking paths and new trees. In conjunction with this project the City of Elgin agreed to replace the aging and outdated restroom facilities in 2021 and improved the parking along N. Main Street and within the park (completed 2020). Supplemental funds provided by the City of Elgin.
The City of Elgin worked with the VFW Post 6115 to rededicate a flagpole marker honoring Elgin Veterans. The marker was originally placed in 1971 with a flagpole for the Elgin Baseball field, which is now the site of the Elgin Recreation Center. The Elgin Recreation Center was funded in part by a grant from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, to provide an emergency shelter in Elgin.