Memorial park in West starts to take shape



Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8


Posted on April 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 4:34 PM

WEST — When the fertilizer plant in West exploded on April 17 of last year, David Baldwin watched from some 97 miles away in Plano and he knew there was something to be done.

"I've taken this on as a personal project," he said.

Baldwin is a noted landscape architect. His park designs cover Dallas, Plano, McKinney and expand across the United States.

But, Baldwin said he though his services might be of use after learning from some colleagues in Waco that the town park in West was destroyed in the blast.

The West City Council green-lighted most of his design early this month.

"It's exciting," he said. "The park is going to represent a rejuvenation, a chance to get something back."

The acre and half lot will be outfitted with new playground equipment, new shrubs and trees, a pavilion for hosting community events and redone tennis and basketball courts.

There will also be a walking path enclosing the area.

Baldwin has also proposed a memorial for the 15 people that were killed in the blast. It would be loosely modeled after the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C.

"The design of the FDR memorial is a series of rooms that moves you through," he said.

The first room would focus on West's roots as a Czech community, the second would include a raised platform for overlooking the blast site and the third would be a tribute to the brave men and women that lost their lives.

"Obviously, this is sensitive," he said. "There is a committee in West that is going to take other suggestions too."

Baldwin has volunteered his time and his services.

The hope is ground could break on the park improvements this summer.