In November 2010, Dallas voters firmly rejected the city's plan to offload Elgin B. Robertson Park. The idea of selling the park, which occupies 257 acres on the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard, had been but on the ballot partly as a way to boost the Parks Department's capital budget and partly because the city has little use for it.
"It's 10 miles outside the outside the limits of the city," Mike Hellman, the city's manager of park planning and acquisition, told Unfair Park this morning. "Even though it's technically inside the city because of the lake, it's surrounded by the suburbs and is primarily used by the suburbs. So, you have Dallas residents paying for a park that's not really being used by them."
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But none of that was really communicated to voters, whose natural reaction is to oppose the sale of the city's parkland. "They didn't know what we were doing, so they voted no," Hellman says.
The city still wants to sell the land (along with the 76-acre Joey Gorgusis Park in Oak Cliff) and so, lesson duly learned, it is considering putting the measure on the ballot in May. Hellman is briefing the Park Board on the matter on Thursday, when members will decide if they want to move forward with as referendum and what type of educational campaign is needed.
And Hellman thinks the city still has a possible buyer in the city of Rowlett.
"I haven't talked to them lately, but I'm sure they are [interested]." The bigger question, he says, is whether they'll be able to raise enough cash to acquire it.