Fair Park, widely considered an underutilized destination, is a step closer to becoming more of a year-round attraction. On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved a master plan that would transform the 277-acre site, replacing much of its concrete with greenspace.
Community leaders and residents say the plan is long overdue and one that could help address what some say are problems with systemic racism. In the early 1970s, the city bulldozed the homes and businesses of Black residents to make way for parking lots.
“It’s exciting to see actual intentional effort be put into repairing wrongs that had been done in the past,” said City Council Member Adam Bazaldua, whose district includes Fair Park. “It is one that gives me hope for the future of South Dallas, Fair Park, District 7 and overall the city of Dallas.”
Under the master plan, the non-profit group Fair Park First will continue working with its for-profit partner, Spectra, to develop the park. Fundraising will pay for $58 million for the project’s first phase.
Plans call for a community park that will include a large lawn, a children’s play area with an interactive water feature, remembrance gardens and a pavilion for gatherings. The park will also offer events throughout the year for adults and kids, including fitness classes, outdoor movies and musical performances.
Mayor Eric Johnson said Fair Park is a valuable asset to the city of Dallas, but it hasn’t realized its full potential. Initially, he was concerned about plans to privatize the park. But, he said, he’s been impressed with the process, including getting community input.
“I do think that we now have a partnership that I think will help Fair Park become what it always could have been and should have been,” Johnson said. “That this is a year-round destination for the residents of our city and, frankly for visitors to our city.”