A newly formed non-profit foundation moved one step closer to assuming control of Fair Park this week.
On Wednesday the Fair Park Texas Foundation finalized its nine member board of directors and its 11 member advisory board.
“Fair Park is a crown jewel among parks. With the formation of Fair Park Texas Foundation, we have the opportunity to shape that gem into a cultural park that Dallas citizens deserve – one that entertains, enlightens, educates and stimulates, while honoring its historical and cultural significance. Through this foundation, it will be critical for us not only to restore our aging infrastructure, but to transform Fair Park into a greenspace that brings our city together," said Mayor Mike Rawlings in a statement."
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The board includes local business leaders, community activists, and conservationists. Tammy Johnston, chair of the South Boulevard-Park Row Historic Neighborhood Association, was appointed to the group despite her criticism of the foundation.
"My cocern was, from a community perpective, it was the same old same old, deals being done behind closed doors, no community input," Johnston said. "This is a great show of faith by Walt Humann and the Fair Park Texas Foundation to include citizens from the community on the board."
Several board members have not always seen eye to eye on what Fair Park should be when the State Fair of Texas is not in operation.
The park has facilities needs that will cost millions to repair, and the gates surrounding the park have been a literal barrier between it and South Dallas residents.
"[The foundation] recognizes that the neighborhoods around fair park are important and [residents] have to have a seat at the table, which hasnt hapened in the past,' said Craig Holcomb, president of Friends of Fair Park.
Holcom teachers reading lessons in south Dallas. He said a Fair Park that has reached its full potential would be a space where students can learn and enjoy the outdoors. He said the competing voices on the board should allow the best ideas to come to the fore. Turning those ideas into reality is going to take millions of dollars, and the foundation could turn to the city for funding.
"Dallas is cyclical. One thing becomes important and then something else does," he said. "It's the Arts District, it's the Trinity. Now it's Fair Park. It's our turn."
The following information comes from a press release from the Fair Park Texas Foundation:
The nine members of Fair Park Texas Foundation’s board of directors are listed below (NOTE: the Foundation’s by-laws require that at least 10% of its 9-member board of directors reside in the surrounding community and at least 10% represent the historic preservation community).
• Arcilia Acosta, the chairman and CEO of CARCON Industries and STL Engineers. She is the former chairman of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chamber, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber and Dallas Together.
• Dianne Curry is the former chair of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board and Dallas Metropolitan YWCA and is a trustee of the National Recreation and Park Association.
• Craig Hall is an entrepreneur, businessman, author and philanthropist. He formed HALL Group in 1968 at age 18 and the diversified company has since grown to include several subsidiary brands, including HALL Park, HALL Arts, HALL Structured Finance, and HALL and WALT Wines.
• Walt Humann formerly served as chair of the executive committee of Hunt Consolidated, chairman of the supervisory board of Memorex Telex and president of LTV Commercial Group. A veteran community servant, he is founding chair of the Dallas Alliance, which developed Dallas ISD’s magnet schools and desegregation plan, and founding chair of the Jubilee Park Revitalization project adjacent to Fair Park. The first White House Fellow from Texas, he is known as the “father" of DART” as well as the founder and chair of the North Central Task Force.
• Tammy Johnston is a marketing expert, community leader and president of the Park Row South Blvd Homeowners Association.
• Margo Ramirez Keyes is a renowned civic leader, philanthropistand community volunteer in the cultural arts, community, education and medical arenas.
• Roy Lopez is the community development officer for the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. He has served on numerous boards including the Center for Nonprofit Management and PeopleFund. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in urban administration from Trinity University.
• Virginia McAlester is a nationally renowned American author, architectural historian, preservationist and political activist. She is a founding member and past president of Preservation Dallas and of Friends of Fair Park. She serves on the Dallas Landmark Commission Fair Park Task Force and is an Adviser Emeritus of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
• Ken Smith is a business owner and community leader, president of Revitalize South Dallas Coalition, and a frequent contributor to The Dallas Morning News editorial page. He is a life-long resident of South Dallas /Fair Park neighborhood. Members of the 11-member advisory board of trustees are as follows:
• Sarita Juarez is a community leader residing in Jubilee Park.
• Zaida Basora is president of the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Dallas) and is the assistant director of Public Works for the City of Dallas.
• Anna Hill is president of the Dolphin Heights Neighborhood Association.
• Ben Leal is president of the Jubilee Park Community Center.
• Alendra Lyons is the president is the Mill City Community Association.
• Nancy McCoy is president of McCoy Preservation Architects.
• Craig Melde is a principal with ArchiTexas Preservation Architects Architecture and a board member of Preservation Dallas.
• Diane Gollhofer Raines is a practicing professional engineer and former 25-year DART official who led the award-winning construction of the DART Green Line serving Fair Park, opening ahead of schedule in 2009 to serve State Fair of Texas visitors.
• Andy Swift is a veteran sports executive with more than 25 years of management, operations, marketing, public relations and broadcasting experience. He is currently the executive director of the prestigious Dallas Cup international youth soccer tournament and serves as a FIFA Match Commissioner in the CONCACAF region. Additionally, he is co-host of The Kickaround, a weekly soccer radio show on KTCK The Ticket.
• An official from each of the State Fair of Texas and Texas Discovery Gardens will represent the Fair Park Leadership Council.
The Fair Park Leadership Council members are listed below (alphabetically by organization with the executive director/president/CEO listed first and the board chairperson listed second):
Dr. Harry Robinson, African American Museum
Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Jr., African American Museum
Gregg Hudson, Children’s Aquarium
Joan Walne, Dallas Zoo
Mary Suhm Dallas Historical Society
William Helmbrecht, Dallas Historical Society
David Hyslop (interim), Dallas Summer Musicals
Ted Munselle, Dallas Summer Musicals
Kim Campbell, Dallas Wind Symphony
Dr. Ross Finkelman, Dallas Wind Symphony
Linda Martin, Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.)
Jennifer Mitten, Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.)
Craig Holcomb, Friends of Fair ParkBilly Dean, Friends of Fair Park
Mike Tabor, GEXA/Live NationRepresentative TBD, GEXA/Live Nation
Teresa Rynell, Old Mill Inn Ed Campbell, Old Mill Inn
Dan Kohl (interim), Perot Museum of Nature and Science
John Jaggers, Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas
Richard Knight, State Fair of Texas
Dick Davis, Texas Discovery Gardens
Michael Bosco, Texas Discovery Gardens
George Landis (interim), WRR-101.1 FM
Representative TBD, WRR-101.1 FM