Cedar Hill's new Library in a Park features a 42,000-square-foot facility, surrounded by the 7-acre Signature Park, with 1.4 miles of nature trails, outdoor seating space, a sensory garden and an outdoor concert venue. Courtesy of the city of Cedar Hill.

April 17, 2024

A new library that will appeal to bibliophiles as well as nature lovers is hosting a grand opening in Cedar Hill this month.

A ribbing cutting will be held for the Library in a Park at 450 Pioneer Trail in Cedar Hill on April 27 at 9:45 a.m.

As its name suggests, Cedar Hill’s new library is not your typical resource center. 

The creek overlook at Cedar Hill's new Library in a Park. Rendering courtesy of the city of Cedar Hill.

The state-of-the-art campus whose centerpiece is the Traphene Hicks Library also pays homage to the the remarkable landscape and nature of Cedar Hill.

“We wanted to build something that would bring the outside in and the inside out,” said Melissa Valadez-Cummings, Deputy City Manager of Cedar Hill.

Valadez-Cummings said visitors will not only be awed by the new 42,000-square-foot facility, but also by its unique natural setting — the 7-acre Signature Park, featuring a wooded area with 1.4 miles of nature trails, outdoor seating space, a sensory garden and an outdoor concert venue. 

The center also features a draw for local history buffs — a new permanent home for the Cedar Hill Museum of History.


A rendering shows the rooftop event space. Courtesy of the city of Cedar Hill.

The origin of the hybrid facility dates back two decades.

“Originally, in 2003, the community approved a bond referendum for a new library,” said Valadez-Cummings. 

The bond of $4.6 million was meant to cover the cost of the library, however, the market crash of 2008, which was the initial time frame to build the library, halted the project.

In 2016, the project picked back up but the original $4.6 million was not enough, Valadez-Cummings explained. 

“We went back to the community. Actually, we had a citizens bond committee.” 

The committee asked for a $20 million referendum to be put on the ballot for a new library.

Valadez-Cummings mentioned that at this time, the city of Cedar Hill also had Signature Park in their master plan for two decades, however, it hadn’t yet been built. 

“We had the land, we had it in the master plan, but we never built it out.”

In 2017, the bond referendum for the library was approved overwhelmingly by the community, however, there was still uncertainty about where it would be built at the time.  

Cedar Hill Library in a Park

Watch a video tour of the Library in a Park. Courtesy of the city of Cedar HIll.

“We knew we needed a new library four times the size of the current library,” Valadez-Cummings emphasized. 

These dual needs ultimately led to the creation of the Library in the Park. The community played an integral role in the name and location. 

“The community named it ‘The Library in a Park’. They literally did,” Valadez-Cummings said. “They told us they wanted it in the park.” 

She also explained how this decision by the community aligned with the city’s goal to maintain green spaces. 

“We’ve committed 25 percent of our land mass to be green and open space,” said Valadez-Cummings. 

The community’s desire for the library to be in the park “reaffirmed that value,” she said.

The overall cost of this project was $40 million, which includes soft costs such as architectural design and hard costs such as construction. 

“With a project this size, there’s multiple levels of architecture,” said Valadez-Cummings. 

That $40 million was approved by the community of Cedar Hill. 


The rooftop deck offers views of the wooded area. Courtesy of the city of Cedar Hill.

The Library in a Park is a perfect blend of nature, education and recreational space, offering a plethora of ways to enjoy the outdoors. 

The project was built to LEED standards and as many trees as possible were preserved. Trees that were removed were repurposed for the infrastructure, according to a city spokesperson. In addition, more than 200 new trees and 14,000 new plants were planted on the property — all native to the region.

In addition to Signature Park’s natural area, the park is equipped with swings, benches, ping-pong tables and more. 

Meanwhile, within the library is an outdoor event space — on the roof. 

“One of the most exciting features our council is excited about is what we’re calling the rooftop deck,” Valadez-Cummings described. “Most libraries are built traditionally, and we didn’t want to do that.” 

The library’s rooftop deck can be used and rented out for events such as weddings, quinces, family reunions and much more. The open-air rooftop deck allows visibility of tree tops in the surrounding area. The Cedar Hill Towers will also be visible from the rooftop deck.  

To encourage clean and alternative forms of transportation, the facility also provides four electric vehicle charging stations, bike racks and bike repair stations. 

In addition, there are water fountains for both humans and four-legged friends. 

Trees that were removed for construction were repurposed in the building design. Courtesy of the city of Cedar Hill.


One of the special features of the building that will perk up North Texans' ears —  a podcast recording studio. 

“This is one of the few libraries in the nation that will be able to provide the community opportunities to use really expensive equipment to do their podcasts,” said Valadez-Cummings. 

Community members can also use the studio for music recording, digital media work and more. 

Valadez- Cummings spoke on the importance of introducing the community to different technologies, while highlighting the fact that the audio studio equipment is completely free to use. 

The library will also have two business centers. 

“These centers will provide complimentary resources for people who are sending out their resume, looking for jobs,” said Valadez-Cummings. 

This service is also free. Other amenities include free scanning and eight study rooms available for public use. 

“We will have robust children’s programming areas, including story times with therapy animals, and classes for community members of all ages to grow their skills.” Valadez-Cummings added. These classes range from coding to technology and robotics. 


Another significant asset to the Library in a Park is the inclusion of the Cedar Hill Museum. 

“The Cedar Hill Museum of History and the city has an agreement in which they are basically a tenant of the library,” Valadez-Cummings explained. 

The museum has access to 2,000 square feet inside of the library to showcase Cedar Hill's history, giving visitors a chance to learn about the first settlers, the city’s origin and even a dinosaur that once roamed this land. 

"Prior to this move, we had office space in a small rental," said Geri Klauck, treasurer for the Cedar Hill Historical Society and Museum, by email. "All of our artifacts had been in storage units for about six years. We now have many set up for display in the new location."

The week after the grand opening, the museum will be open for visitors, she said.


The Library in the Park’s success is thanks to the hard work of the Cedar Hill community. 

“We want to represent the community we serve, especially in big projects like this,” Valadez-Cummings said, when discussing community collaboration, and the importance inclusion of women and minority businesses and entrepreneurs from Cedar Hill being part of this project. 

“All the fingerprints and heart prints of the community are in this project,” said Valadez-Cummings. 

She expressed how this project will be an incredible asset for Cedar Hill and the Southern Region for “decades to come.”

A rendering of Signature Park. Courtesy of the city of Cedar Hill.

Library in A Park Grand Opening

About: Grand opening celebration of Cedar Hill's new 42,000-square-foot facility, housing the Traphene Hicks Library and the Cedar Hill Museum, surrounded by the 7-acre Signature Park.

Activities include a 1-mile fun run on the Park’s new trail, fitness and bird demonstrations, face painting, storytelling, balloon art, food trucks, beer and wine.

When: April 27, 2024, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once opened, the park will be available to the public from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

See website below for schedule.

Where: 450 Pioneer Trail, Cedar Hill. Free parking and shuttle service available.



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