City Hall

Ain't Gonna Work on Samuell Farm No More? The City Would Like to Sell Beloved Property.

I expect this won't be our last item on this subject today, given the years of blood, toil, tears and sweat that have been spilled over Samuell Farm. But just a little more than a year after the city and Texas Attorney General's Office hashed out an agreement over the property donated to Dallas by philanthropist and physician W.W. Samuell in 1937, the city's considering parting with two of the largest and most beloved parcels -- not only Samuell Farm, which covers a total of 609 acres, but also Samuell New Hope Park, which is about 120 acres.

I noticed it this morning on the Park and Rec board's agenda for Thursday; also on the auction block, potentially, are Elgin B. Robertson (which we already knew Mary Suhm's considering selling to offset some of the $131-million budget shortfall) and the 25-acre Joey Georgusis Park. But the Samuell properties will be no easy sell.

First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers, who worked on that agreement with the AG's office, tells Unfair Park this morning that not only will voters have to approve the sale -- a special election would take place November 2 -- but a district court would also have to allow for the modification of the 1940 trust agreement. Samuell donated the land to the city with the stipulation that it was "not to be sold."

Bowers says no buyer has been lined up yet -- this is still in its "conceptual" phase. But the AG's office has been notified of the city's desire to sell the property, yet another indication that this year's budget-cutting is more like a budget-gutting.

"The city is contemplating selling Samuell Farm as well as every other park outside of our main city limits," Bowers tells Unfair Park this morning: "And there may be one or two within the city limits where staff believes we have an abundance of parks. Due to an extremely tough budget situation, the city is finding it hard to justify to voters why we spend money maintaining parks very few citizens use."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky