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Landscape Architecture’s Gilbert, Janks share their vision for a Fort Worth park

Landscape Architecture’s Gilbert, Janks share their vision for a Fort Worth park

How do you get two Red Raiders to do at least $10,000 of work for free? This is no joke. Fort Worth is reaping the rewards of a life lesson for two recent Texas Tech graduates. Zach Gilbert and David Janks used their senior project to realize the potential for Marine Creek Lake Park.

It is 88 acres of grass and trees on the north side of the city that most homeowners don’t recognize as a dedicated park. With Fort Worth’s permission, the pair surveyed the lakeside land and got to work in January. “I think it made us a little more excited that this could eventually be built in real life,” Janks said.

Other students in the same class used imaginary cities for their project to design an urban park. Janks and Gilbert researched the neighborhood and did the engineering to make the park an attraction. The city said their work was worth $10,000 to $20,000.

“There is an existing pond on the site, and we are going to use that as an outdoor education area,” said Gilbert, pointing to elaborate drawings and map-sized printouts. Their renderings include dog parks, four miles of hiking trails and volleyball courts.

They did their best to stick to a realistic city budget. “We tried to use recyclable materials and things people would use to save money,” Gilbert said. “We tried not to use the most expensive lighting and the most expensive stuff.” They also incorporated solar panels to reduce energy use.

Professors gave Gilbert and Janks a B+ for their project, but they learned a real lesson from the city. It doesn’t have the money to make their plans come to life just yet. City officials said they will hold on to the renderings and possibly use them as part of a master plan, but there not right away.

Further progress would require public hearings, City Council input and staff review. That’s okay with Zach and Dave. They are in no hurry. They have their degrees… and the experience to find their first jobs out in the real world.

Written by Casey Norton

CONTACT: Alon Kvashny, chairperson, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2858 or


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