March 13, 2017 4:47 pm

Louellen Coker

Little Elm Logo

It’s been almost 20 years since Duane and I happened to come through this part of North Texas to visit some friends. As we drove through the downtown area of Denton, we saw an office space with a “For Rent” sign hanging in the window and we felt it was the perfect place, and time, for us to put down some roots. So we did.

Duane hung out his shingle and founded  CokerLegal, a family law firm that provides expert advice to families in Denton and Collin Counties. I taught 10th grade English at Little Elm High School and went on to found Content Solutions, a boutique marketing firm. And while we have lived in several different cities in the region, Little Elm is the one we call home.

When we first moved to the area, Little Elm had only a two-lane road running through it. The locals were super friendly, but not much beyond fishing and Friday night football was going on in town. Community events beyond those centered around the schools were few and far between. If you wanted to find a group to run, cycle, or swim with, you pretty much needed to drive down to Dallas.

My, how our little town has grown up! And in a good way! The city leaders have done such a good job of preserving as much of the town’s charm while in the midst of substantial growth. What was once a two-lane road is now a six-lane divided roadway. A city that had a few struggling businesses now offers a wide variety of food, shopping, and entertainment businesses.

And, most impressive is that the city has done and is continuing to do so much to allow its citizens to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter their age. Here are a few of the great things going on in Little Elm:

1. Little Elm Lakefront

Little Elm Beach
Little Elm Beach. Photo courtesy of the Town of Little Elm.

The Little Elm Lakefront district is the heart and soul of my town. On this 1-2 mile stretch of Eldorado Parkway, you’ll find more than the traditional civic buildings such as City Hall, fire station, and library. You’ll find a beautiful area in which people from Little Elm and beyond come to enjoy life. Among the fun things to do include Hydrous Wakeboard Park, Towers Tap House, Hula Hut, Cottonwood Creek Marina, Beard Park, a boat ramp, and of course the Little Elm Beach.

The Little Elm Lakefront has been under conscientious development for several years and when it is complete, it will include upscale living and a wealth of shopping and eating options. (Including the newest CokerLegal office!) When I saw the thoughtful plans for the first time many years ago, I was impressed and grateful that our city has chosen to embrace growth in a positive and healthful way.

Little Elm Parks

Each of the five city parks currently scattered throughout the community provide great opportunity to get outside, have fun, and conduct a healthy lifestyle.

  • Louellen doing yoga at sunset overlooking the lake at Little Elm Park.
    Little Elm Park is a perfect place to swim, run, or enjoy time outdoors. Photo by Duane Coker.

    Little Elm Park: One of the oldest and most well-known of the parks, Little Elm Park is home to the Little Elm Beach, soccer and baseball fields, a great playground, the town’s amphitheater, tent camping, and boat ramp. The town of Little Elm uses this park for its summer concert series, Easter Egg hunt, Big Easy 5K and Crawfish Boil, among other fun happenings. It’s not unusual to see birthday parties, volleyball games, swimming, and people simply enjoying being outside. This park also has a nice scenic running/walking path that is mostly concrete but has trail segments as well.

  • Cottonwood Park: Cottonwood Park is tucked down at the end of Lobo Lane and offers hiking trails. It is home to league softball and baseball league games.
  • Beard Park: The newly restored facilities of Beard Park are located at 310 Eldorado Parkway. You’ll find several of Little Elm’s historic buildings and enjoy a beautifully appointed park. Within the next year, a lakefront running trail will connect Beard Park to McCord Park. Which means that runners can get from Little Elm Park all the way to McCord Park and beyond using a mix of trails and sidewalks.
  • McCord Park: McCord Park is located on the east side of town and provides a vital connection to the Frisco trail system, expanding the area in which people can recreate. Amenities in the public park include over a mile of hike & bike trail, an 18-hole disc golf course, fishing dock, pedestrian bridges, picnic areas, and a playground.
  • Union Park: Union Park can be found nestled in the Union Park neighborhood off of Hwy. 380. You’ll find a swimming pool as well as numerous trails and a pavilion in this 35-acre wooded park.

Little Elm Recreation and Senior Centers

The Little Elm Recreation and Brenda Button Mills Senior Centers are just a hop, skip, and a jump from Little Elm Park. The Little Elm Recreation Center is a hidden gem for Little Elm. I discovered it a couple of years ago as I was running Little Elm’s Big Easy 5K. Tucked on the shoreline, you have a great view of the lake while doing group fitness activities. The gym offers all you need for any fitness program.

The fitness trainers, group class leaders, and everyone I’ve encountered at the rec center have been very knowledgeable, polite, and enthusiastic about helping you reach your goals. Every January, through the Mayor’s Fitness Challenge, residents are invited to take part in the Rec Center’s activities as they begin or continue a healthy lifestyle in a fun, friendly, and supported way.

The center will soon be unveiling its recent renovation and expansion project bringing the facility to 7000 square feet of healthy fun. From summer camps to yoga, to individual and guided exercise programs, as well as being a perfect home base for any run, the Little Elm Recreation Center offers all you need to enjoy a healthy lifestyle at any age.

The Brenda Button Mills Senior Center is right next door to the Little Elm Recreation Center. The center offers weekly and monthly programs at little or no cost for anyone aged 50 or over. The center provides group exercise, games, and trips for its members.

Little Elm Community Programs

There is a lot going on in Little Elm these days. The parks and recreation department coordinates recreation throughout the year. Beginning with the Mayor’s Fitness Challenge in January, continuing with festivals and Friday night movies from the spring through the fall, and ending with holiday celebrations in December, there is often something to do.

It is nice to be a part of a community that consistently organizes programs, activities, and creates infrastructure that ensure its citizens can live a healthy lifestyle should they choose to do so.

There is so much more going on in Little Elm. Check out this YouTube video about the town’s philosophy.

This post is part of my 52-week gratitude challenge.

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