The Fort Worth City Council voted on June 14 to rename the Echo Lake Park and ballfield complex in honor of two local-area heroes. The 41.3-acre parcel — originally owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company — was under the authority of Tarrant County from 1975 until 2017 when the county and the City of Fort Worth entered into an agreement by which Fort Worth would assume ownership.
In May 2022, the Department of Parks and Recreation voted to rename Echo Lake Park in honor of former resident Ciquio Vasquez, pending approval by the City Council. Following the vote in favor on Wednesday, the sprawling area will now be known as Ciquio Vasquez Park.
Vasquez was born in 1927 in Fort Worth and was raised in the Worth Heights community. Vasquez served in the United States Army during the Korean War before returning to the North Texas community that would one day honor his name.
In 1976, Vasquez founded the Southside Little League organization, which played games at the ballfields located at Echo Lake Park. Vasquez was honored in 1986 by the Hispanic Organizations of Tarrant County for his contributions to the Echo Lake Park area and his involvement in the Southside Little League. That same year, Tarrant County issued a proclamation declaring one of the five ballfields to be named Ciquio Vasquez Ballfield.
Vasquez passed away in 2012. His obituary, published by the Star-Telegram on August 3, states that he was a coach for 20 years and a lifelong supporter of both Echo Lake Park and Southside Little League. In 2004, he was named Regional Citizen of the Year for planting trees at the park.
There currently are five ballfields at Echo Lake Park, which also includes a playground area, basketball courts, and a 17-acre lake. At least one of the fields was in use as recently as 2021; however, satellite photos show the fields to be in disrepair. As part of a more extensive $124 million bond program issued by Fort Worth in 2022, $5 million has been allocated to renovate the park and re-establish at least two ball fields.
The renovated ballfields will be named in honor of another Fort Worth native, Patricio “Patrick” Zamarripa. Zamarripa was killed in the line of duty as a Dallas Police Officer in 2016. He was one of five officers killed in an ambush during anti-police protests in Dallas. Councilmember Elizabeth Beck, whose district encompasses Echo Lake Park, requested the ballfield complex be named after Zamarripa to honor his memory.
Zamarripa attended Fort Worth Independent School District and played baseball for Paschal High School. He also played for Southside Little League at Echo Lake Park as a youth. Upon graduation from High School, Zamarripa joined the U.S. Navy and served three tours in Iraq as a security officer. He joined the Dallas Police Department after leaving the service to be close to his family.
According to the City Council, public input concerning the naming of the park and ballfield area received only three email responses. According to the official record, all three responses objected to naming the ballfield complex after Officer Zamarripa, instead requesting the ballfield complex also be named after Vasquez.
The master plan for the development of Ciquio Vasquez Park and Patric Zamarripa Ballfield is not complete at this time and will require additional public input and City Council meetings to determine how the $5 million bond will be spent.