‘Contamination’ Holds up Dallas Development Plans


Hensley Field | Image by NBC DFW

Chemical contamination is holding up the redevelopment plans for Hensley Field that the City of Dallas recently unveiled.

The site used to host a Naval Air Station, which was decommissioned in 1998, however, underlying chemical contamination has been an issue for years, and it has put the City at odds with the U.S. Navy.

Decades of use by the military have left the site, its abandoned buildings, and nearby Mountain Creek Lake contaminated with metals, toxic chemicals, asbestos, lead-based paint, and other contaminants.

Despite $92 million of federal taxpayer money having already been spent on cleanup by the Navy, which it is legally obligated to complete per court order, the area remains polluted. It will need to be cleaned further before construction can proceed.

A memo by the City detailed the state of the contamination and cleanup efforts, stating, “Groundwater remediation has been partially completed and remains in progress.”

“However, an emerging class of chemicals known as PFAS… which were components in firefighting foams used/stored on site by the Navy have been identified in soil, groundwater, sediment, and surface water and are currently being investigated by the Navy,” the memo read.

Mayor Eric Johnson plans to travel to Washington D.C. to meet with the Navy for clarification on the scheduled cleanup. However, the timeline for the visit has not been made clear.

The City recently unveiled plans to repurpose the 738 acres of land. Artistic renderings of the proposed project depict a vibrant community with tall buildings, a lakeside beach, and waterways with bridges over them. The plan claims that 12,000 new jobs and residents would populate the development, with 6,800 dwelling units and 3.7 million square feet of industrial, commercial, and institutional space, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Johnson has voiced his support for the development, calling it “an area of untapped potential, a hidden gem in the city.”

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Jane Anne Bryant
Jane Anne Bryant
2 months ago

Are you sure there is still the level of contamination at Hensley Field that the City claims? Based upon my personal experience with the City for over 15 years, they are prone to exaggeration, even fabrication regarding contamination reports. A third party needs to do a contamination check because you can’t trust the City. I wager, there is another backstory in which the City is making this claim to get something from a developer or to get something extra for a favorite developer. Or, they are trying to get something more from the Federal Government.

Fed Up With Dallas County
Fed Up With Dallas County
Reply to  Jane Anne Bryant
2 months ago

You could very well be correct in your assertion. On the flip side, the City of Dallas and Council are so corrupt we can’t eliminate the possibility that they’d knowingly build a residential neighborhood on a chemical dump and lie claiming it was safe. Not saying Hensley Field is that dump – I’m saying the City is that criminal and place no value on life or neighborhoods.