Skip to content

Dallas Doo Doo

November 8, 2012


Dallas mayor hitches his wagon to latest horse park proposal


Staff Writer

Published: 07 November 2012 11:06 PM

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings passionately expressed support Wednesday for a plan to move forward with the Texas Horse Park, a proposed city equestrian facility in southeast Dallas.

Plans for the large horse park have been taking shape — sort of — for years. In the city’s 2006 bond program, voters approved $14 million for the project. But a nonprofit group set up to raise matching private funds fell drastically short. This year, city officials sought bids from private operators to run the proposed park but got no decent offers.

The latest proposal, the one embraced by the mayor Wednesday, calls for spending $12 million to construct four arenas, 60 stalls, a fenced pasture, a “pavilion and barbecue area,” and other amenities. The City Council was briefed about the plan at its weekly meeting.

“The citizens of Dallas do not realize what we have there. I was blown away,” Rawlings said, describing his visit earlier this year to land the city has acquired for the park. “It was the most moving experience that I’ve had in the city of Dallas in dealing with nature.”

The site for the park is close to the Trinity River, south of Rochester Park and north of Ledbetter Drive. It’s not far from the Trinity River Audubon Center.

Rawlings called the lush, wooded area “the greatest urban forest in America” and said the city must find ways to draw more residents there.

“This will be a catalyst to do that.”

Under the latest proposal, two nonprofit groups would operate and maintain the facility while using it to cater to underprivileged children and those with disabilities.

In addition, Southern Methodist University’s equestrian team has expressed interest in possibly partnering with the city to use the horse park. Currently, the team must travel outside the city for practices and competitions, according to the council briefing.

Some council members voiced concern that the horse park won’t serve enough people to justify its price tag. They also worried that the city might be saddled with managing the park, should the nonprofit groups fail in their efforts to do so.

But Rawlings and others said the park offers opportunities for economic development in nearby Pleasant Grove and other parts of the city.

The council is expected to vote on the proposal next week.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: