A major upgrade proposed for the century-old ballfield at Reverchon Park in Dallas could transform it into a venue for minor league professional sports.
The Dallas City Council Tuesday is scheduled to hear the proposal from a group led by Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson.
The Dallas Park and Recreation Board has already endorsed the deal that would provide a $15 million private investment to renovate the ballfield and surrounding park.
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"We believe that this is really a great win for the citizens of Dallas and sports fans, but also our partners in this are a proven operator of sports teams," park board president Calvert Collins-Bratton said.
The baseball field is currently used by high school and amateur teams, but the 95-year-old grand stand is rundown.
Frequent park visitor Luis Vega said it looks bad.
"Yes, kind of rundown, I can see. Kind of dangerous, too," Vega said.
A homeless man has been living in the umpires' room beneath the grand stand.
City groundskeeper Lawrence Willie said he keeps running the man off and removing his litter.
"I have to lock the gate up. Every time I lock it up, I come back from after the weekend, the gate's all busted up again," Willie said.
The private investors would also maintain and operate the park, similar to a deal the city recently struck to operate Dallas Fair Park.
"They can better program it, better use it than the city of Dallas," Collins-Bratton said. "It saddens me, as someone who grew up here, to see how dilapidated this ballpark has become."
The plan calls for a new grandstand with 3,500 seats and artificial turf, so the field could support soccer, rugby and lacrosse, as well as baseball. Architecture firm HKS has been retained to design a structure that blends with the century-old park.
"It's a great location for a park," Vega said. "And activity for everybody would be great. It's a great idea. I like it a lot."
The private group is negotiating with surrounding high rise office buildings, that did not exist when the field was built, to provide parking garage space for big evening or weekend events.
"It will be much more of a community gathering place than it is currently," Collins-Bratton said.
The plan calls for a Dallas City Council vote in December if council members like what they hear Tuesday.