Dallas to Consider Outsourcing Operation of Fair Park

A nonprofit and an outside event management company would run day-to-day management of the 277-acre park, home to the State Fair of Texas

Big Tex will come down Wednesday after another successful run presiding over the State Fair of Texas.

But the bigger news concerning Fair Park happened a few miles away, inside Dallas city council chambers, where city leaders voted 14-0 to hand over operation of Fair Park to a nonprofit organization and a professional management company.

City council members voted to give a 20-year management contract to Fair Park First, a group that would be tasked with turning the 277-acre park into a daily destination for people in Dallas.

"Not only are we going to bring green space back into the park, but we're going to bring event, content, activities, and patrongs back to the park," said Darren James, president of Fair Park First. "There's a new day."

Fair Park First has partnered with Spectra, an entertainment and events company owned by NBC DFW parent company Comcast, in its plan to handle day-to-day operations and to “support Fair Park as a public park, maintaining and managing the grounds and facilities of Fair Park as a vibrant, year-round location for events, daily activities, cultural enrichment, historic architecture, and a place for quiet enjoyment,” according to the resolution that council will consider.

Among the stated goals of Fair Park First have been to raise its stature as a place for sports, concerts and events. 

As part of the proposal, a New York based redevelopment company would look at ways to add green space and handle plans for a potential new community park within the grounds of Fair Park.

"Fast as we get this going, the more South Dallas will become a better place with jobs," said lifelong South Dallas resident Quincy Guiyard. "They're putting a park over there finally after all these years!"

The proposed contract would come at a cost not to exceed $38,098,909 during the first ten years of the arrangement.

The Dallas Parks board gave its approval of the arrangement last month.

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