By DIANE XAVIER
The Dallas Examiner
Reverchon Park’s manage-ment company learned Dec. 11 that a private entity will not take over the park for the city of Dallas.
The Dallas City Council voted 7-7, failing to pass a motion authorizing a 20-year agreement with one 10-year renewal option and two additional five-year renewal options, with Reverchon Park Sports and Entertainment, LLC, for the development, operation and maintenance of a proposed new athletic field and stadium at Reverchon located at 3505 Maple Ave.
The deal proposed by RPSE was worth $15 million and included 3,500 in stadium seats and would have included restrooms, concessions, locker rooms and dugouts for each team and would have public restrooms accessible to all users of Reverchon.
RPSE is owned by Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson. The proposed new athletic field would also have been used for baseball, rugby, soccer, lacrosse and concerts as well.
The City Council vote ended in a tie, which means the proposal for a new ballpark did not get a majority vote and therefore did not pass. Council member Cara Mendelohson of District 12 was absent when the voting took place.
Council members who voted against the proposal were concerned about not having enough input from the community and were concerned about how it would affect local communities in terms of traffic.
Dallas resident Karen Roberts spoke against the proposal by RPSE.
“The proposed plan for this legacy park is devastating and destructive,” Roberts said. “It will destroy this family park in exchange for a loud unnecessary facility that invades the neighbors daily. There are a multitude of problems with this proposal such as the first Reverchon Park proposal called for generic use and oriented toward college ball. They called for a renovation of a historic field and no removal of trees.
“A series of community meetings allowed for the information and exchange with the affected stakeholders. The proposal before you eliminates these plans. The most significant problems with this process was that there was no community meetings where citizen input could be presented. I do not know if this is even a legal process and I am concerned that it is the future plan for Dallas. No impact studies were presented at the council briefing. There is no impact study on the effect of traffic, noise, and lights. The community must be educated and allowed to have input. Please postpone this vote.”
Council member Adam Bazaldua of District 7 voted against the deal with RPSE.
“We are now in a position just as we did with Fair Park having to explore what looks like to be our only option to utilize a park that we have left crumble,” Bazaldua said. “Because we have not taken care of our facilities. Had we appropriately done what needed to be done to the revenue that comes to this park I don’t think our only option would be privatization to save it.”
He explained in further detail on his facebook post why he voted against the measure.
“This deal wasn’t ready for approval, there were several reasons why,” Bazaldua stated.
“I am an advocate for neighborhoods of self-determination and I was contacted by several residents who live in the communities surrounding the park who had concerns and opposed the project for many reasons. They were never given an opportunity to give any input because the applicant did not engage in any community input meetings after design and concept was submitted to the RFP.
“Last night after several colleagues brought up the displeasure for the lack of community engagement through this process, I made a motion to delay the deal 60 days to allow for the applicant to address the community engagement piece, in addition to some studies that were requested by the council as well. The applicant said on record that they would not accept a delay and that if we delayed it they would walk away. I have a problem with being given an ultimatum to make a decision when I was trying to find a compromise.”
He went on to explain that the Council requested a traffic and also an environmental impact study when they were first briefed on the proposal, yet the applicant chose not to complete the studies prior to the vote.
“Also a problem,” he continued. “The procurement process was not transparent and lacked clear bidding rules.There were also changes made to the RFP that goes against the park’s master plan that the park board and council both adopted over a decade ago. I take privatizing public assets very seriously and want to make sure it is done with transparent process and is lead through community engagement. To have a deal of this magnitude come to the council chambers and have so many unanswered questions, and so much misinformation given, it felt very irresponsible to vote on something just because the applicant said that he was on a time crunch.
“My job is to be a steward to the taxpayers of Dallas, I did not think that voting to approve it as it was in that moment was what was best for the residents of Dallas. It’s also very concerning anytime anyone who wants to build anything in Dallas says they don’t see the point in talking to the community. Asking for community engagement and transparency is not too much to ask when asking for millions of dollars worth of city owned park land. Now I understand that some are upset and when they want something, they want it now. But I do not think that any of these concerns are unreasonable, and I will never look past the needs of the community over special interests and corporate dollars.”
Council member Omar Narvaez was disappointed that the council did not receive a traffic and environmental impact study of which he requested from interim Parks and Recreation Director John Jenkins. Narvaez also voted against the measure.
“That’s a shame,” Narvaez said. “I don’t ask for things very often but when I do ask for them I expect them to be delivered. I am a huge supporter of parks and to be snubbed they way you snubbed me makes me realize that’s the way the community was snubbed in this process as well which is an unfortunate shame”
Council member Adam McGough of District 10 voted in favor of this proposal.
“I honestly believe all that I heard from this particular deal is going to make Reverchon Park better,” McGough said. “We all have constituents and I have heard from mine and they are very supportive of this project.”