Dallasites Provide Input on New Park Venue

Proposal for Forest Audelia Multipurpose Center and Park | Image by NBC 5 DFW

Dozens of Dallasites and Dallas City officials gathered to discuss a potential new multipurpose park. 

Dallas Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosted a community input meeting discussing the Forest Audelia Multipurpose Center and Park on the evening of April 24. Members of the public raised questions about the proposed venue, including some regarding security and others related to the hosting of community events. 

This meeting was held at the Forest-Audelia Youth Boxing Gym from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. City officials such as Council Member Kathy Stewart (District 10), DPR Board Member Scott Goldstein (District 10), DPR Deputy Director Crystal Ross, and more were in attendance. 

“This isn’t just a priority for the neighborhood or just one council member. It’s a priority that we do it right and that we hear from you all about how we develop this project over the next several years,” Goldstein told those at the meeting. 

David Mills, the project’s senior architect, explained to attendees some of the specifics behind the envisioned community space and the opportunities it would provide for residents and local entities. This new park would include various amenities, such as a pavilion for events, a playground, an event lawn, a sports court, a lawn for open play, and a multipurpose center with a space dedicated to local law enforcement.

“It’s a shared space so there’s a lot of multi-use purposely designed in such a way that if arts and culture need some space at a particular time, they can use it,” said Mills. “If the library needs to hold an event, they can do that. And then of course, there’s more specific space related to recreation.”

The multipurpose center would include amenities such as a library, classrooms, party spaces, exercise rooms with equipment, and more.

The total budget for this project is $7.5 million, with $1.5 million dedicated to the building of the park and $4 million going to the construction of the building. 

Those in the audience asked multiple questions regarding the park’s construction, such as surfacing, food truck hosting capabilities, shaded areas for playgrounds, lighting, and even whether pickleball — a growing recreational activity for the area — could be played on its courts.

Some community members communicated safety concerns and asked about police presence at the potential site.  

Council Member Stewart said the City had initially asked for a police storefront; however, Chief Garcia of the Dallas Police Department later revealed that it would be too difficult to staff it with an officer 24/7. DPD has been facing a critical shortage of officers, with just 3,000 sworn-in personnel in the field, as extensively covered in The Dallas Express

To surmount this challenge and still provide a police presence, City officials plan to have officers on patrol stop by the park and potentially have the neighborhood police officer (NPO) office housed on-site rather than at the northeast substation. 

Officials hope to begin park construction in the fall of this year and begin building construction in the spring of 2025. 

Council Member Stewart told The Dallas Express she hoped to make this new space the new district office. Stewart also said that such a development is “extraordinarily important” for the local community, noting that it had little going for it a decade ago. 

“There wasn’t a library up here, there wasn’t a rec center, there wasn’t a park, there was a playground at the school, and that’s it. And this is a very densely populated area from Adelia along forest to LBJ,” she said.

“And so with the challenges, the crime, the density, and the lack of City resources, this became a focus for me. And when I was running, I think I made that clear that this is a focus for me and it will continue to be. So I here for me, an office here and at this intersection is just would be a dream. It’s where I want to be.”

Another public input meeting on the park is expected to take place at a later date. 

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