DALLAS - Residents who live near Reverchon Park are suing the city of Dallas in the hopes of halting a redevelopment of the aging baseball stadium at the site.
The people opposed to the $10 million deal argue that the way the city turned over a public park to private hands violates the law.
“The city has turned over six acres of public park land giving exclusive control to a private developer. State law frowns on that kind of delegation to private hands of the stewardship of a private park,” said attorney Tom Whelan.
He represents Robert and Charlotte Barner in their lawsuit against Dallas and the group of investors led by Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson.
The Reverchon ballpark has fallen into disrepair after years of neglect by the city. Nelson's plan would invest $10 million into the park to build a baseball stadium and athletic field.
“I think it is rich of the city having neglected the park for years to say trust us, we will be good stewards of the park, as we hand it over to a private entity. What is the city doing? Giving a private developer right to build a ballpark that will stand here for private commercial events for the next 40 years,” Whelan said.
The Barner's allege in their lawsuit that the city violated state law with the partnership by not properly notifying residents or holding public hearings.
“The same question's been raised. ‘Did you know about this?’ The answer is no,” Robert said.
Residents who gathered at the park for a news conference Friday morning said they are concerned about the increase in noise and traffic that a larger baseball stadium would bring.
“The traffic here is already crazy,” Charlotte said.
Robert discussed the future users of the park.
“When our grandkids come we picnic here. I don't want my grandson to say, ‘Grandpa what did they do to the trees? Why are they knocking down the trees with bulldozers?’ That is what will happen if they enlarge this from two acres to six acres,” Garner said.
Right now, Dallas ISD and the North Texas Amateur Baseball Foundation use the ballpark. Both supported the proposal that they felt would bring more resources to improve the park.
“That field needs to be fixed and if someone doesn't do something it will be unusable for us, for the DISD and anyone else in amateur sports using it 50 years,” said Gerry Mecca, North Texas Amateur Baseball Foundation.
But with the baseball season just weeks away, it is unclear Reverchon Park will be available to DISD and the North Texas Amateur Baseball Foundation. The city has said in an email that there are safety concerns about the bleachers.