Parks and Recreation staff addressed the City Council Monday with information about the Department’s history and 60th birthday festivities, which are taking place this month. Activities have included a “selfie scavenger hunt,” online trivia contests and a traveling ball hopper game, with a variety of prizes. Still to come is an “old school style” scavenger hunt (Jan. 20-31) and customer appreciation parties.

The Richardson Parks and Recreation Department officially began Dec. 29, 1959 with an ordinance creating the “Department of Public Parks.” City-sponsored recreational activities had already been taking place at that point, with the purchase of the City’s first park lands (Terrace and Heights) in 1956 and the construction of a community center in 1957 on Lockwood Drive, now home to the Richardson Masonic Lodge. Today the Department oversees 1,841 acres of parks and green space, including 17 public facilities, 32 playgrounds and 230 acres of athletic fields.