The City of Coppell traces its roots back to 1832 when the farming community of "Grapevine Springs" formed in the vicinity of the present-day Grapevine Springs Park. The area around the springs, which flows into the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, was often used as a campsite. Settlers of German and French descent began moving to the area in the 1840's and in 1843, Republic of Texas President Sam Houston camped here during treaty negotiations with local Native American Indians. By 1846, Dallas County was founded, followed by the city of Dallas in 1856.
By 1873, the community became known as "Gibbs," in honor of former Texas Senator and Lieutenant Governor Barnett Gibbs. In 1889, the Cotton Belt Railroad established "Gibbs Station," providing needed transportation for the farming community. The community again changed its name - this time to "Coppell," probably after George Coppell, who was a prominent New York businessman closely associated with many railroads. So influential was the railroad in those days that the name of the train stop became the name of the town, and in 1892, Gibbs officially changed the name of its post office and town to Coppell.
In 1936, Dallas County accepted the donation of Sam Houston's campsite on Grapevine Creek for park land. The same year, the Federal Work Projects Administration (WPA) built the park infrastructure including a half-mile of walkways, three bridges, a dam, stone retaining walls, and picnic facilities-located among groves of oak, pecan, and cottonwood trees. Reportedly, the park was well used by the citizens of Coppell in the 1930's and 1940's, and even included a baseball field and bleachers.
After ownership of the land reverted to its prior owner during World War II, the Baptist Foundation of Texas obtained Grapevine Springs Park and in 1991 donated it again to Dallas County. Today, through a long term (99 year) lease with the county, the City of Coppell maintains it for the enjoyment of its citizens. Grapevine Springs holds an important place in Texas history and is noted by historical marker number 13054. The marker reads:
"The Grapevine Springs, which flow into the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, have attracted visitors for more than 2,000 years. In 1843, Republic of Texas President Sam Houston camped here during treaty negotiations with Native Americans. The treaty was later signed at Bird's Fort. In 1936, Dallas County accepted the donation of Houston's campsite as park land, and the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) built rock walls, picnic facilities, footbridges and other features. During World War II, ownership reverted to prior owners. The Baptist Foundation of Texas later obtained the land and donated it to the county in 1991. Today, the City of Coppell maintains it, and efforts to restore WPA features are ongoing. "
Site selection and Funding
In 1999, a developer pursued a dense residential development on a parcel of land adjacent to the western edge of Grapevine Springs Park. However in the autumn of 1999, out of respect for the history of Old Coppell, the beautiful park setting and the surrounding residential ambiance, the City Council authorized the purchase of the 46-acres in question for $3,728,155. Their stated intent was to preserve the land for municipal and park use.
In November 1999, City of Coppell voters approved a bond package including $1,000,000 set aside for the design and construction of a new community center on this land adjacent to Grapevine Springs Park, a restroom facility for the park and the repair of the WPA era retaining walls within the park. The scheduling of the bond sales required the community center to be moved back on the list.
In 2004 and 2005, the Council confirmed the site selection. Then, at their August 22, 2006, meeting the City Council authorized the issuance of Combination Tax and Revenue Certificates of Obligation to provide additional funding, raising the total project budget to $3,600,000.
The Site plan proposed for the Center was excellent. Access is from Bethel Road immediately south and aligned with the existing Hearthstone Lane. A meandering drive takes one to the Center and its alignment was carefully located to save as many trees as possible. In addition, attention was devoted to placing the parking lots in small increments avoiding the "sea of parking" which sometimes results with public buildings. The structure itself is placed on one of the most desirable locations on the site with spectacular views of Grapevine Springs Park.
The City's "green initiative" played an important part in the construction of the center. A primary focus of the design was to minimize heat penetration into the building. The structure was built on the site in such a way that a minimal number of trees were affected. The trees are used as shade for the building in the summer and provide a wind break during the winter. The roofing materials have reflective qualities, and the building was constructed of recycled materials, or materials that were recycled at the end of their useful life.
The City is seeking a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for this facility. LEED is a certification program through the U.S. Green Building Council, and is nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainability, site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environmental quality.