One years ago, when Mayor Mike Rawlings was merely Park Board President Mike Rawlings, the city held its first-ever Dallas Parks Summit at the Music Hall at Fair Park. By way of invite in 2010, ad man Rawlings said this:
"Walt Disney once said he didn't want the public to see the world where they live when they were at Disneyland. He wanted them to feel they were in another world. Parks can do that for you too. They are places to get lost in the beauty of play, in the serenity of the grounds, in the escape of the outdoors where the boundaries are large and the horizon is distant."
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Inspirational words aside, these are tough times for the parks system: Park and Rec wants to fill in the city's antiquated public pools and replace them with aquatic centers we can't quite afford; Mary Suhm's looking to privatize park clean-up; and then there's the whole Standing Wave debacle. (Speaking of park maintenance: On its bids website at this very moment, the city is looking for a contractor with whom it can sign a 36-month-long service contract. Renegade tree-trimmers need not apply.)
Hence the second Dallas Parks Summit, this one titled "Moving the System Forward," which is fast approaching: November 5 at the Music Hall again, beginning at 8 in the a.m. The agenda for the day's event is posted here, and it's an intriguing mixtape of Unfair Park best-ofs: the 2012 bond program, the Dallas Bike Plan, another look at the Aquatics Master Plan, park graffiti abatement, the city's trails system, a guided Fair Park tour offered by the great Willis Winters and myriad programs designed to get regular folks to serve as volunteer advocates for their neighborhood parks.
And I see Bill Lively's also on the agenda in his position as University of North Texas Vice Chancellor for Strategic Partnerships. He's leading a session titled "Positioning for the Future," which, says the program "will address the ever-changing City of Dallas demographics and feature the four P's to position the Dallas park system for the future: Purpose, Plan, People and Promotion."
The event's free. But you do have to register. And, again, do that here.