The Dallas City Council agreed Wednesday to a 30-year deal with the Dallas Independent School District to jointly open the Reverchon Park baseball field, an agreement expected to revitalize a century-old grounds that have been neglected for years.
The school district plans to pay the city $ 5 million of bond money to fund upgrades for the Uptown-area field. New play surfaces, batting cages, bathrooms, grandstand bleachers and other improvements to modernize the space are underway.
The ballpark is part of the 41-acre Reverchon Park, which was established in 1914. The city will still have a baseball field in this new deal and be responsible for the general maintenance of the grounds and facilities. The city estimates it will pay about $ 135,000 per year for maintenance. DISD will have priority when using the baseball field.
“This is a great day for the city of Dallas and a great day for DISD,” said board member Jesse Moreno, who represents the area where the park is located. He referred to the grounds as an “oasis in the middle of Uptown” it is a special place for generations of families and will upgrade to a true home field for North Dallas High School. He said he hopes the renovation will make the city a historic landmark.
The deal with the school district came after the city met with public opposition over plans to turn the field into a private developer. In 2019, a group led by former Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson wants to turn the field into a 3,500-seat stadium for rugby, football, lacrosse and baseball.
The City Council in January 2020 approved the deal, but canceled the deal nine months later when investors who were part of the Reverchon Park Sports and Entertainment group could not meet a deadline to prove they had enough money for the planned $ 10 million complex. .
The board previously approved a similar deal with another group of investors in 2018, but also failed after the group failed to generate the $ 15 million planned for the project.
The agreement with DISD is a major recommendation by the end of 2020 from a task force led by Dallas park board chairman Calvert Collins-Bratton. She tells him The Dallas Morning News there is a partnership with the school district made the most sense since DISD will be a major user of the field.
DISD is expected to pay Dallas $ 5 million of DISD bonds approved by voters in 2020.
Collins-Bratton said the city has typically spent money on neighborhood parks, but rarely on its own fields. For example, the grandstand has not been renovated since the 1940s and the bathroom has not been renovated since the late 70s. The background generally does not meet the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Nobody cares, honestly. It’s not as lovable as it should be,” said Collins-Bratton, who still serves on the city park board. “This is a place that hasn’t had a strong champion, in decades.”
He said the task force included community supporters for the field, including a couple who sued the city to end a $ 10 million development deal, and there was a strong push to upgrade and preserve the grounds.
“This is a very important asset for the city, the park department, and the residents to keep it safe,” he said.