McKinney residents and officials will celebrate the opening of the city’s newest park, the World Collection Park of Crape Myrtles, with a Picnic in the Park at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 10. Neil Sperry, acclaimed Texas garden writer and radio personality, will preside at the event.
Built with $1.3 million in grant money raised by Sperry and fellow members of the Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney, with major support of $525,000 from the McKinney Community Development Corporation, the 7-acre park features plantings of every known variety of crape myrtle. The Picnic in the Park is the kick-off event for the community’s new tourism festival, Bloomin’ and Boomin’– An Explosion of Crape Myrtles, Culture and Coolness.
“Our park is unique. Crape myrtle experts at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., have told us that it is the only one of its kind in the world,” Sperry said recently. “This is a high point in beautification for this fast-growing Metroplex community.”
The park is located at 6452 Collin McKinney Parkway, near Stacy Rd. and Hwy. 121 in McKinney.
The Picnic in the Park will be a family-fun event, organizers said. Activities include children’s games and tours of the park’s various “rooms,” each featuring a different color of crape myrtle. Families may bring their own picnic suppers or pre-order Market Street box suppers on-line at www.crapemyrtletrails.org <http://www.crapemyrtletrails.org> .
Susan Owens, executive director of the Crape Myrtle Trails, said, “Bring lawn chairs or a blanket, and relax after the work week — in a park that is destined to be a tourist attraction for North Texas!”
Dallas landscape architects Newman Jackson Bieberstein, Inc., are the designers and consultants for The World Collection Park, which is part of an extensive park system overseen by McKinney’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Open Space.
Sperry said Crape Myrtle Trails is approaching the halfway point in fulfillment of its pledge to oversee the planting of 50,000 new crape myrtles in publicly visible spaces of McKinney within a 10-year period. The crape myrtles in the park and along the trails will normally be in bloom through the warm-weather months and at their peak of beauty from mid-June into early July.
Other events during McKinney’s Bloomin’ and Boomin’ festival will include bus tours of the trails, the World Collection Park, and experimental plantings of crape myrtles at Myers Park.