Special to The Dallas Examiner
Fair Park First, a nonprofit organization created to oversee the management and stewardship of Fair Park, released preliminary ideas for the 2020 Fair Park Master Plan at Community Conversation: Initial Concept Ideas. The Nov. 21 open house was the second in a series of meetings geared towards gathering ideas for the master plan refresh.
The initial concepts presented were based on feedback received over the last three months through open house meetings, neighborhood association meetings, and individuals meetings with Fair Park stakeholders.
The group focused on residents in the 22 neighborhoods that boarder the fairgrounds, such as those in the 75210, 75215, 75223 and 75227, among other ZIP codes – with 75223 participating in 45 percent of the survey. Over 110 residents participated in the survey, according to the master plan update.
The survey results indicated that most residents were less than 25 percent likely to visit Fair Park, other than during the state fair. Most people were unaware of events that took place on the fairgrounds – 89 percent of the participants said that they were not informed about events.
When asked about overall improvements needed, 65.1 percent sited communication of events and activities. About 39.6 percent desired more programing options. Between 19 and 25 percent stated improvement was needed in regard to safety, access and connectivity, while cost and parking were at 19.3 percent. About 7.3 percent had an issue with directional signage.
When asked what would increase their attendance to Fair Park events and activities throughout the year, 68.1 percent said improved communication would help and 46.1 percent said programing options. Though safety was not indicated as a concern for most participants, 34.6 percent said they would attend more often with improved safety. Less than 25 percent said they would return with improved access and connectivity, directional signage, lighting and parking, with cost falling to the bottom of the list.
“We set out to be intentional about engaging the neighboring residents in a meaningful and different way, which meant going out into the community, meeting them where they are instead of always asking them to come to us,” said Darren L. James, president of Fair Park First. “What’s most rewarding is hearing from residents and stakeholders that our results reflect the collaborative thoughts of all.”
The presentation featured maps and diagrams that outlined improvements to the 277-acre National Historic Landmark, including improving the entrances and edges of Fair Park, providing more green space, creating connectivity inside the park, and locations for the neighborhood park
“We’re 100 percent committed to making this plan help the people in the community by providing a place that they can be proud of,” said Brian Luallen, executive director of Fair Park First. “We are encouraged by the response so far, but we welcome more feedback as we continue developing ideas.”
The group will reveal the final master plan in February or March of 2020. All current results are on the group’s website. Residents interested in providing feedback can contact Fair Park First by visiting http://www.fairparkfirst.org/contact.