Dallas' New Strategy For Revitalizing Fair Park: Bike Sharing

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Whatever "dramatic ideas" Dallas' new task force will propose to revitalize Fair Park now that the summer amusement park has gone belly up are still months, if not years, away.

In the meantime, the city is moving forward with smaller initiatives aimed at attracting visitors to the park. Key among these is Mayor Mike Rawlings' "Turn on the Lights" program, which got $1.4 million in funding in the current budget. It's gone mostly unnoticed because there's not been much to notice. So far, it's been spent mostly on doing things like running the fountains every day and literally turning on the lights to make Fair Park a slightly more inviting place.

It will be more difficult to ignore the next item on the agenda: Dallas' first bike-share program. The Park Board will decide on Thursday whether to give the nonprofit Friends of Fair Park up to $125,000 to make it happen.

See also: Fair Park's Summer Amusement Venture Is Dead. Is Anyone Surprised?

This is a far cry from Fort Worth's $1 million bike-share initiative, which debuted last year. Craig Holcomb, FFP president, says Fair Park will likely be home to a pair of bike-rental stations.

Other details, like which company will run the program and rental costs, will be hammered out later.

Holcomb says that Fair Park's size -- it's 277 acres of historic art deco buildings and cultural facilities -- is one of its biggest assets. But it's also one of its biggest drawbacks, since it can be too big to comfortably navigate on foot. Visitors will be more inclined to come and explore if they can do so on two wheels.

The current plan is to have the bike-share stations in place by late spring or early summer. Holcomb says there's a "sense of urgency" when it comes to revitalizing Fair Park

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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