Why the Bond Initiative Matters this Election

Dallas goes to the polls Nov. 7, 2017. On the ballot: The city’s 2017 Capital Bond Program, which funds areas of public life from streets and transportation to libraries, and from flood control and storm drainage to the preservation of the architectural treasures located in Fair Park. Digging into the details reveals a great deal about how the city protects and enriches the lives of its citizens. An informed vote should also give any voter many reasons to feel good about the direction Dallas is taking as it enters the next decade.

Among the many civic responsibilities represented in the Capital Bond Program, Proposed Allocation B calls for raising $262 million to fund Dallas’ parks and recreation facilities. This proposal has city-wide ramifications, as it further specifies that each of Dallas’ 14 City Council Districts will receive its own parks and recreation allocation. In other words, a percentage of those millions will pay for playgrounds, dog parks, greenbelts, trails, environmental conservation, historic restoration, new neighborhood parks and improvements to existing facilities all across the city.

How much of a percentage? Proposed Allocation B includes a total of $64 million for district-specific projects. The remaining $198 million will support projects that aren’t so neatly contained or will have what’s called “system-wide” impact. These system-wide projects include beloved Dallas institutions like the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Arboretum. They also include ambitious trail systems, like the Circuit Trail (sometimes called “The Loop”), as well as the Aquatics Master Plan.

Also counted among the system-wide initiatives are several new citywide parks. One such park is Midtown, a new signature green space in North Dallas. Another is the Southern Gateway Public Green, which promises to bring the deck park concept behind the success of Downtown’s Klyde Warren Park to Oak Cliff. Finally, three new parks that promise to transform our urban core from gray to green — Carpenter Park, Harwood Park and West End Plaza — will receive much-needed funding as well.

System-wide projects generate benefits for all Dallasites, but sheer proximity means several of them will have special resonance within their home districts. Consider Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center’s renovations in District 3. Or think about Timberglen Trail and Northaven Trail, which run through Districts 12 and 13, respectively. Singing Hills Recreation Center will see gym additions in District 8, just as the Willie B. Johnson Recreation Center will be looking at senior center and gym additions in District 10. District 13 may just have the best access to Bachman Lake‘s new skate park, and District 9 is right there to take advantage of White Rock Lake Trail and the proposed new Arboretum sidewalks on Garland Road.

Other iconic Dallas parks and public spaces that will benefit from the passage of this bond initiative include East Dallas’ Tietze Park (District 14), Exline Park (District 7), the Old East Dallas Work Yard (District 2), Orbiter Park (District 10) and the Cedar Ridge Preserve (District 3). The bond also allows for roofing and waterproofing improvements at the Fretz (District 11), Harry Stone (District 9), Hattie R. Moore (District 6), K.B. Polk (District 2), and Umphress Recreation Centers (District 5). Likewise, there are the HVAC, plumbing, electrical and mechanical improvements slated for Grover C. Keeton Golf Course (District 5), Pike Park (District 2), Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (District 7), and Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center (District 8), among others.

The entire bond budget, including all the proposed parks and recreation projects, is available from Dallas City Hall. And a complete list of the city’s parks and recreation needs, broken down by district-specific and system-wide projects (among other categories), is available through the City of Dallas’ Needs Inventory for parks and recreation.

Keep in mind that Oct. 10 is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 7 bond election. Early voting starts Monday, Oct. 23, and continues daily through Friday, Nov. 3. Other relevant dates and times can be found online through the Dallas County Elections website. There you can also find additional voter information pertaining to registration, precincts, ballots, where to vote and special needs accommodations.

If you want to learn more about how great parks help make a city great, Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy has a wealth of information to share. Accessing it is as easy as liking the organization on Facebook, following it on Twitter or subscribing to its newsletter. Downtown Dallas Parks Conservancy will also keep you up-to-date on all parks-related issues so that, together, we can ensure the brightest possible future for our city.