New plans for Dallas Fair Park and the area around it from a mayor's task force received a warm reception Wednesday from Dallas city leaders.
The Dallas City Council took its regular meeting on the road to the park Wednesday to hear the recommendations that came from months of Fair Park Task Force meetings.
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- Mayor's Fair Park Task Force Overview
"I felt passion by all the council and park board members that they want Fair Park to be all it can be and they're interested in taking this big challenge on," Mayor Mike Rawlings said.
The city hopes to make Fair Park more of a year-round destination instead of primarily a place to attend the State Fair of Texas and Music Hall events.
City leaders also want the park to be a catalyst for redevelopment and investment in the neighborhood around the park.
The plans call for improved access to the park and for independent nonprofit management.
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Fences and walls around the park could be moved to open park land to surrounding neighborhoods.
The plan suggests replacing surface parking lots with parking garages to make more green space available in the park.
It calls for burying the elevated section of Interstate 30/R.L. Thornton Freeway near Fair Park and creating a new deck park over the freeway like Klyde Warren Park downtown.
Dallas Council Member Carolyn Davis who represents the Fair Park area said Klyde Warren Park has been an excellent example of what Fair Park could become.
"That's why I'm pushing so hard, because to see happy faces when I go downtown, I would like to see happy faces over here as well," she said.
Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas Zoo are both operated by nonprofit organizations independent from Dallas City Hall.
That type of management is another recommendation of the Fair Park Task Force.
City Council Members Wednesday had many questions about how the new management might operate Fair Park and no solid answer about how to raise enough money for the plans.
Councilman Dwaine Caraway suggested a half cent sales tax but one others supported such a tax.
Another Fair Park plan 11 years ago was never fully implemented, largely for lack of funding.
The new plan proposes $478 million in work on the park alone with the I-30 reconstruction and deck park proposal not included.
"It's going to be a big challenge, but show me the details," Rawlings said. "Let's talk about that, but let's keep pushing the ball forward."