Bitter Fight Over Dallas Reverchon Park Goes to Court

Neighbors claim city violated the law with deal for 3,500 seat minor league sports stadium and concert venue

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A Dallas couple that lives beside Reverchon Park in Dallas sued the city Friday, claiming a deal to build a 3,500 seat minor league sports stadium and concert venue is illegal.

Charlotte and Robert Barner announced the lawsuit at the park Friday with about two dozen supporters.

They claim the deal will illegally grant private control of pubic park land and that the city failed to properly notify neighbors of the pending deal.

“If you get an invitation to a party you can choose to attend. We’ve never received an invitation to this party,” Charlotte Barner said.

Their more basic objections have to do with traffic, crowds and proposed changes which they claim will remove large trees.

“If they enlarge the footprint of this thing from 2 acres to 6 acres, I don’t want to walk a dog in this area and then find out, you can’t even get into the park because you’ve got 35 hundred to 5 thousand people at an event. Not just a sports event, but also concerts serving alcohol. And you’ve got people throwing beer cans and trashing this place up,” Robert Barner said.

The deal with a private group led by Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson was approved in an 11 to 4 vote of the Dallas City Council on Jan. 8 after a December tie vote that rejected the deal.

Speakers on both sides of the issue crowded the city council chamber for the second vote.

Dallas City Council Member David Blewett requested the reconsideration and changed his previous vote against the deal to approval.

“I do think Reverchon Park is in trouble. We have ignored it for a long time. It does need help and we don't have money,” Blewett said the night the deal was approved.

Supporters argue a $10 million investment by the private group will improve the park and the century-old grandstand, which the city has not found money to do on its own.

“We just have to bring our facilities up to par and we need to use every means to do that. And if it means having a partnership with a private entity, we should take advantage of that," Councilman Lee Kleinman told NBC 5 in December.

The plaintiffs claim supporters are not actual neighbors of the park.

“We live here on the front lines of this thing,” Robert Barner said.

Neighbor Don Williams spoke for some of the other supporters attending the announcement of the lawsuit to stop the new stadium.

"It would fit somewhere else in Dallas, not here," Williams said.

Supporters have said several more layers of review are still ahead before actual construction of a new stadium is allowed.  They said the Dallas Park Board and the Dallas City Council could still reject plans as they advance through final design.

The Dallas City Attorney declined comment on the new lawsuit Friday.

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