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Park upgrades hold promise

We’ve always believed the Historical Park of Denton County is a terrific asset, and current plans to improve park features could help make it a must-see for Denton visitors.

Work is underway to move the historic Taylor family log home and log barn to the site, and plans are being made to add history-related events and brown-bag lunches, improve landscaping and maintain the presence of the Denton Community Market.

“With more high-density residential and downtown Denton [traffic], we would like people to view this as their local park,” said Precinct 4 County Commissioner Andy Eads.

Eads said the county plans on partnering with area school districts to bring more students to the park on field trips as part of their Texas history curriculum.

The park includes the Bayless-Selby House Museum and the Denton County African American Museum. Peggy Riddle, director of the county’s Office of History and Culture, said that in addition to adding the Taylor home, she’s hoping to add other structures including a gazebo that is now in a temporary spot after being moved to make way for a welcome center.

The Taylor house was donated by the Taylor family of Corinth last year, and officials have been working to remove artifacts from the home to prepare it for relocation and hope to have it in place by the fall, Riddle said.

The park will continue its partnership with the county’s Master Gardeners to improve landscaping at the site, and Eads said he also wants to continue to host the community market as a way to increase visitation.

“We would like to have a brown-bag lunch series about Denton County and North Texas history, and we would like to open the Bayless-Selby House to more social and civic organizations to utilize for special events such as luncheons and teas,” he said.

There’s even talk of adding a shop at the park, and Riddle said officials hope to fill it with Denton-exclusive items.

“One-of-a-kind Denton souvenirs, not like things made in China,” Riddle said. “Things made locally. We have such a creative talent in Denton County.”

Riddle said she is open to suggestions from the community on changes and upgrades to the park and there are opportunities for area residents to volunteer.

For example, officials will carefully document pieces of the Taylor home so it can be reconstructed at the park.

“It’s almost like Lincoln Logs where you have to number everything and, when you put it back, all the logs go back to where they are supposed to be, as well as the stone chimney,” Riddle said. “So that will be a project, if anyone in the community wants to help.”

We like the ideas for improvements to the Historical Park of Denton County and encourage officials to continue adding incentives to draw visitors.

Exhibits and programs sharing details about the county’s rich heritage could be a good way to boost tourism and an effective teaching tool to help instill a love of history in new generations.