The half-acre playground showcased in this rendering will include an interactive water feature, custom climbers, a tot lot zone, a custom mega net structure, and roller slides nestled in the rock hill. – Photo courtesy of Fair Park First


Special to The Dallas Examiner


The Fair Park Management Team, led by Fair Park First, announced the early renderings for the new Community Park at Fair Park. This park within a park concept transforms the largest parking lot on the campus into a 14-acre natural Blackland Prairie, interwoven with the social surroundings of South Dallas.

“By merging these two themes into one cohesive vision, we are ensuring this park is intrinsically South Dallas in its identity, North Texas in its ecology, but truly unlike any place in America,” said Maria Landoni, senior associate and design lead at Studio-MLA.

The new park’s major features and elements include ecological gardens, picnic areas, a community stage and pavilion, multiple play areas, a dog park, a market grove, water elements, and an abundance of outdoor spaces and amenities to relax and gather. Perched at one of the highest points of the site sits the Market Grove, an outdoor orchard adjacent to the stage, above a seep wall, and overlooking the central lawn. The Lookout Tower, a lit-up tower inspired by the shape of a “Texas Twister,” will provide a panoramic view of the park. All-abilities play elements were consistently requested by the South Dallas community during the master plan process. As a result, over one acre of playgrounds and play features will be dispersed across the site.

The design team, led by renowned landscape architecture firm, Studio-MLA, began crafting concepts in early 2021 with the end goal of creating a unique user experience.

“We challenged Studio-MLA and this design team to embrace a 360-degree approach to this plan,” said Darren L. James, chairman and president of Fair Park First. “We do not see the park as having one front entrance. We see it interacting with all four sides in different ways. Then, once you enter the park, we want to provide a different experience with all the elements that are inviting you to move across the space.”

The park was designed by the design team, with input from the surrounding community and Fair Park stakeholders. The design is currently in the schematic phase through early summer 2022, with the remainder of the year being design development, construction documentation, and permitting. The park is scheduled to break ground in early 2023 and open in fall 2024.

It is part of the $85 million Fair Park Your Park Capital Campaign launched in spring 2021 and was led by Fair Park First and Rise360 Consulting. The Capital Campaign will fund only park as well as other greening and restoration projects across the Fair Park campus. For more information, visit



Mollie Finch Belt is the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Dallas Examiner. She attended elementary school in Tuskegee, Ala.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Dallas, Texas. In 1961, she graduated from...

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