City Hall

Neighbors Set To Sue Dallas over Reverchon Park Deal

A 2018 baseball game at Reverchon Park
A 2018 baseball game at Reverchon Park Mike Brooks
Dallas' Reverchon Park fight, already voted on twice by the Dallas City Council, isn't over. Thursday afternoon, a group of the park's neighbors announced a lawsuit intended to stop the city's deal to give the reins of the park to a private group led by Dallas Mavericks executive Donnie Nelson.

In the suit, which, according to county records, had yet to be filed Thursday night, the neighbors argue the city violated state law by failing to allow appropriate public input on the deal and didn't search for a "feasible and prudent alternative" to the deal prior to agreeing to it.

With the city's permission, Nelson's group intends to redevelop the historic baseball field inside the park so that it can be home to a minor league baseball team. Here's how Jim Schutze described it last month:

"The proposed giveaway would turn over 6.28 acres at the center of the park, at a value between $20 and $30 million, to a for-profit professional sports company. Their plans call for ripping down the existing stadium and building a new one for semipro teams in multiple sports. They say they’re sports people, and they know what they’re doing."

Despite Park Board approval, the City Council initially denied the deal after protests from neighbors who didn't want the park to fall into private hands and worried about what the development might mean for Reverchon's future.

Two days after the vote, however, District 14 Council member David Blewett, who'd initially voted against the deal, asked for a new vote, as is his right under Dallas' charter. Given a do-over, the council signed off on the deal, much to the chagrin of the neighbors who'd come to speak at the meeting.

"The project MUST be stopped and properly reviewed, and the venerable, historic ballfield and surrounding parkland and trees must be saved." — Neighbors United to Save Reverchon

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Now the neighbors — whose attorney did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday — are fighting back. The city attorney's office, which doesn't typically comment on ongoing legal matters, also didn't return a request for comment.

"A total lack of transparency and due process has resulted in a plan to replace Dallas’ own Field of Dreams with a private, 3,500-seat, minor league baseball, live concert and entertainment stadium that will destroy the ambiance and serenity of the entire neighborhood for up to 40 years," the neighbors said in a press release. "The project MUST be stopped and properly reviewed, and the venerable, historic ballfield and surrounding parkland and trees must be saved." 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young