It's been five years in the making.

The Green in Longview held a community wide grand opening party on Friday.

It's a community park and event center that's been in the works for years.

Kim Casey Droege, the Executive Director of Keep Longview Beautiful explained how it came to be.

"We first started with a 50/50 match grant from the Texas Park and Wildlife Department." she said.

From there, lots of fundraising to get the $1.2 million dollars to build the venue.

The land it's on is owned by the city.

Droege said it was a, "huge community effort that we all just work together and make it better."

Construction took 9 months, building play areas, and changing the landscaping to accommodate for potential flooding. The park is in a 100 year flood plane so all exhibits had to be built in a way that they will survive the water.

Mark Spencer, the architect who worked on the park added sloping to the otherwise flat area, he also put in a Bioswale.

"The bioswale was built to give the water somewhere to go," he said.

At the grand opening hundreds came out to see all the play areas.

There's an overlook for the creek, nature play area, toy trikes, gardening supplies, stick building areas, a music garden, and artwork done by local artists spread throughout the area.

Droege says they hope it encourages people to put down their devices and play like it's your backyard.

The inspiration that you get when you bring your kids here and you actually let them get dirty and muddy and let them go out there and play with the sticks and build with the stones and sit on the trikes and be with all the different art pieces; go back into the music garden and play with all the musical instruments. There's a nature play area right over here so you know what? We're asking those families to actually get off their devices and come out and enjoy nature, enjoy our backyard.

Other stations were set up during the grand opening.

There was a scavenger hunt and crafts like rock painting, seed planting, making rain sticks, pine cone bird feeders, and painting cedar planks.

During all those family friendly crafts there was also food trucks, live music, and beverages for all.

The venue will host multiple events a year including a wine festival that is planned for the end of April. Keep Longview Beautiful says over 3,000 people have already said they will be going to that.

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