EARLY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The young City of Early is developing a 60-acre town center just north of the main commercial corridor running through town.

Most Texas cities or towns have some kind of “historic downtown” area. However, for some newer cities, that is not the case.

The City of Early, founded in 1951, is only 71-years old and does not have that centralized landmark that the community was built around.

A topic of conversation for many years in Early has been how to develop a town center that appeals to the current community as well as visitors.

However, in 2020 a piece of land running adjacent to Pecan Bayou was made available and was quickly purchased by the city.

Over the past two years, members of the Early Municipal Development Board have gone back and forth on ideas for developing those 60 acres into their centralized hub. Now, they are officially getting the ball rolling on their new town center.

Splitting the large piece of land is an 800-foot-long pond, which will be extended and made deeper for recreational fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

It will also be the divider between the recreational side and the commercial side of the new town center, at least in the initial master plan approved by the city in October 2021.

On the recreational side, the city plans to put in a new playground, walking trail, baseball field, batting cage, and small pitch-and-putt golf course.

On the commercial side, the City of Early is working on developing new businesses, retail shops, restaurants and hotels for families to browse after playing with their kids.

However, the focal point will be the dock, stretching the entirety of the pond. It will host concerts, large outdoor games, fire pits and outdoor seating for restaurants that are facing the water.

“We want families to get together and lose two to four hours out laying in the park, fishing and walking around and enjoying the boardwalk and enjoying the fire rings if it’s cold out,” Assistant City Administrator Larry McConn said.

Their goal is to create a safe, fun environment, inspired by similar town centers in Fort Worth, Abilene, and Roanoke.

City Administrator Tony Aaron said the town center should be a place to draw in people of all ages, from elementary school to those wanting to retire in Early. He said he wants to bring the amenities from Fort Worth, Austin and Dallas and blend them with a laid back, rural Texas town that appeals to citizens and visitors for years to come.

“Something like my family is going to get with your family and you’re going to bring another family and we’re going to have fun. I think this park will do that well,” Aaron said.

According to the City of Early website, the town center is expected to take 5-10 years to complete, with recreational components being added this year.

You can find more information and detailed maps of the new Early town center, here.