Park Officials Plan Bond Funding Implementation

Dallas Parks and Recreation
Dallas Golf Course | Image by Dallas Park and Recreation/Facebook

In a memo issued to the City’s Parks, Trails, and the Environment Committee, a Dallas official detailed how the Dallas Park and Recreation Department plans to implement taxpayer money from Proposition B of the 2024 bond program.

Outlining three scenarios, the department proposes using 10% of design fees for playgrounds and 20% for “other projects.”

The Dallas Express reported in May that the City was preparing a project priority list from the $1.2 billion in bond dollars voters approved earlier that month, including $345.2 million for parks and recreation.

“Coordination among the client and project-executing departments will continue to be emphasized to ensure that the prioritization process is comprehensive and balanced, both financially and logistically, while also identifying potential scope or budget overlaps that may provide opportunities for cost savings and increased construction efficiency,” Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry wrote in a May 17 memo.

Voters on May 4 approved all 10 propositions on the ballot. Al-Ghafry said in his memo that staff “will be completing the priority matrix and prioritized list of projects” for the Dallas City Council in June based on the source of funding, overlapping projects, design status, projects focused on equity, and projects with longer design and completion processes.

During a committee meeting on Monday, Rachael Berry, assistant director of the Park and Recreation Department, said the department’s planned budget for fiscal year 2024-2025 is $127.7 million — down from $128.6 million this fiscal year.

“We are looking to become a more sustainable parks system,” she said. “The highest priorities for the Park Board at this moment … is a lot of maintenance and security. … A lot of this is just based on the aging infrastructure within the parks system.”

Berry said Park and Recreation officials are also planning to draft a new comprehensive plan.

“We’re going to represent this, actually to the Park Board this week just to talk about it. We want to look at those nontraditional park uses. We’re looking at those next-generation partnerships. What could do we in the future to make those partnerships look different?”

The fiscal year 2023-2024 budget includes $2.8 million “for stronger park security presence and the ability to enforce serious offenses as well as additional enhancements totaling $701,000 for parks and trails lighting, security cameras, and Emergency Blue Light tower phones so you can safely enjoy over 177 trail miles that our City has to offer,” budget documents show.

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