The debate continued Thursday over the future of century old Reverchon Park after a sharply divided Dallas City Council vote Wednesday night rejected a private group’s improvement plan.
The decaying baseball field with crumbling bleachers and a portable toilet was to be replaced with a 3,500 seat stadium in the $15 million project proposed by the private group led by Dallas Maverick’s General Manager Donnie Nelson.
The new stadium was to be available for soccer and other sports along with concerts.
“They were going to open up the facility to more days than it’s currently open. It was a good deal,” City Council Member Lee Kleinman said. “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.”
Critics of the plan said there were not enough answers about the impact it might have on existing neighbors.
“I think that’s what caused a lot of pause with a lot of Council Members, but especially with me,” said Council Member Omar Narveaz.
The park is in Council Member Adam Medrano’s District Two. Medrano did not return a message Thursday.
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Some supporters of the project knew Medrano had concerns but they were surprised by the final 7 to 7 tie vote of the City Council Wednesday evening.
“I was like, what happened? I thought we were going to make this thing work. So I’m pretty upset needless to say,” Kleinman said.
A majority of City Council Members are required for approval so a tie is the same rejection.
“I think that the major objection was we didn’t have enough community input to find out what the citizens of Dallas would want to happen here,” Narvaez said.
Talk of using surrounding office building parking garages for large events was not firmed up. The new stadium would use a slightly larger area of the park than the old grand stands. Narvaez said there were no guarantees that other features in the park would be protected.
“It’s one of the oldest parks in the City of Dallas and we’ve got to make sure we protect it, we take care of it, not just for today but for generations to come,” Narvaez said. “I think all of it is on the table still and I look forward to what could happen to this gem that’s Reverchon Park.”
Supporters of this private group’s proposal said it was thoroughly vetted in public meetings at the Dallas Park Board which endorsed it before it reached the City Council. This was the second private proposal that was rejected.
Kleinman said the end result will scare other private groups from making proposals with the City of Dallas. He said the future for decaying Reverchon Park is bleak.
“This is how it’s going to be forever. Why would anyone even touch this if that’s the kind of treatment that they get,” Kleinman said.
The City of Dallas did not invest city money in Reverchon Park while the private proposal were pending.
Park Board President Calvert Collins-Bratton said Thursday that the Dallas Parks Department will now reconsider how best to maintain Reverchon Park.