A big decision could bring the city of Dallas a minor league baseball team and brand new multi-million dollar venue at a century-old park.
The city council voted on a plan to put Reverchon Park into private hands. It's a big reversal, as the council just rejected the plan last month.
It’s a polarizing issue for residents who live around the park. Strong arguments came from both sides of the issue during the Wednesday meeting.
With 11 members voting in favor and four in opposition, the motion passed. And with that, Dallas’ century-old Reverchon Park is one step closer to a major change.
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This decision didn’t come without discussion and opposition. The public comment lines were long on both sides of the issue during Wednesday night’s city council meeting.
A list of concerns for those against the plan included traffic and privatization.
Supporters say it's private management of the field, not private ownership of the park. But critics complain neighborhood streets are not designed for regular events with 35 hundred fans. They complain the plan would spoil the historic park.
“We don’t have to privatize this to make this work. And if we do privatize it there will be people that will be locked out because they don’t have enough money to pay for the concerts or the games or whatever,” said Parks board member, Tim Dickey.
But Dallas residents for the proposal said they’re ready for improvement and believe a multimillion-dollar deal with a private group is the way to go. The $15-million project was proposed by a group led by the Dallas Mavericks’ General Manager.
A new 3,500 seat stadium would pave the way for a minor league baseball team and other sporting events and concerts.
“In the current condition, the field is just falling apart. It’s in bad shape. The city doesn’t have the money to fix it and it’s just not going to get any better,” said Dallas resident Michael Evans, who is in favor of the deal.
Councilmember David Blewett, who once voted against the plan, is now in favor. The council’s previous decision to reject the plan had major pushback. Blewett shared part of the reason for his change of heart.
“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,” said Blewett.
And though the item passed with amendments , four council members were still not sold.
“When we first put this RFP, the intent of the city and the intent of the parks department was to improve a ball field. It was not to bring entertainment to the city. It was not about an economic driver,” said Coucilman Adam Bazaldua.
The item passed with amendments that include fifteen days of “free play”, two community meetings per year, and the allocation of roughly 2,000 tickets for Parks & Rec progams.
This is just the beginning and there will be more review before any construction starts.