After years of starts and stops, the Dallas City Council approved a master plan on Wednesday that aims to revitalize Fair Park.
The plan hopes to attract more tourists and city residents by expanding the 277-acre park’s green space. Among the highlights, is a 14-acre park modeled after Kylde Warren Park, which has been held up by city leaders as a success.
“I do think we have a partnership that will help Fair Park become what it always could have and should have been and that is a year-round destination,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
Phase one of the project comes with an estimated $58 million price tag, with fundraising expected to be complete by 2024. Execution of the plan will be managed by a private-public partnership between the city, nonprofit Fair Park First and Spectra, a private management company owned by Philadelphia-based Comcast who also owns NBCUniversal and NBC 5.
“A lot of things can change in the next four or five years, but I’m optimistic, I’m looking forward to it,” said Dave Habony, founder of Pizza Lounge, which sits directly across from the park.
Businesses in the area were universally excited by word of the master plan's approval but hope they will not be thrown aside in the name of progress. In the 60s and 70s when Fair Park expanded, hundreds of mostly Black-owned homes were demolished and the community as it existed nearly destroyed. Now, minority-owned businesses in the area hope the new plan will bring with it elements of reciprocity.
“This project could really be something the City of Dallas could showcase to other cities and say we went into an all-Black area and gave them opportunity,” said business owner Sean Smith, who owns two businesses in the Exposition Park area.
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Smith hopes the City of Dallas will engage minority-owned businesses as the project progresses and ensure they are not forced to leave as the area develops.
“Having the community at the table is 100% the only way for us to move forward,” said District 7 City Councilman Adam Bazaldua. “I want to insure that the community stays at the center of the conversation.”