Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) wholeheartedly believes in providing safe, clean, and accessible greenspaces as a means of creating thriving communities for all.
One of our intentional areas of investment from our discretionary funds focused on advancing equity is the creation and expansion of public parks.
We’ve been investing in parks since our founding in the 1950s.
Since 2019, CFT has awarded over $8 million in park-related grants and has recently invested in a number of greenspace initiatives in or near South Dallas, West Dallas, and the Medical District.
The majority of these parks will open between 2022 and 2024.
See details of CFT's recent park grants below.
Fair Park First
In 2021, CFT invested $1.5 million in the efforts of Fair Park First to build South Dallas Community Park. The 14-acre park is set to open in 2024 and will replace a parking lot on the southeastern edge of Fair Park in South Dallas. The parking lot was a neighborhood of about 300 homes - owned by predominantly Black families - until the late 1960s and early 1970s when the city of Dallas used eminent domain to buy the property and pave over the land, forcing the families to leave their homes.
While the park can’t undo the displacement of those homes and the people who lived in them, it can bring much needed greenspace to a historically blighted area that is within walking distance of 13 neighborhoods; The location of the park is close to Jubilee Park, Owenwood, Dolphin Heights, Mill City, Frazier, and Wheatley Place neighborhoods.
The Fair Park First team spent seven months building relationships and meeting residents from the 22 neighborhoods surrounding the park to ensure their voices and opinions were a foundational part of the planning process. These community-focused conversations and workshops uplifted how the community wanted to engage with the park on a regular basis. As a result, the design will include the planting of more than 400 trees, interconnected parklets and trails, wi-fi access, picnic areas, playgrounds, performance areas and a multi-use open lawn.
learn more about the fair park master plan
Southern Gateway Park
Can a park be the heartbeat of a city?
The Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation aims for that to be the case. CFT invested $200,000 into the organization’s community-based design for Southern Gateway Deck Park
, a public/private project that will span Interstate 35E, be directly next to the 10th Street Historic District and former Freedman's Town, and create a point of connection to eliminate the often referenced geographical and cultural “north-south divide” of the city.
The community-based design process took place over 11 months; Community residents were invited to talk through challenges, opportunities, and needs to inform how the park planning moved forward. The park design and programming aims to address the six key areas that were uplifted through the community-based design the process:
- History & Culture
- Health & Wellness
- Educational Opportunities
- Economic Development
- Diverse Housing
- Safe & Stable Neighborhoods
The 5.5-acre park will be a gathering place where everyone feels a sense of belonging and will ignite environmental, economic and community revitalization.
CFT made an additional $3.5 million grant
from our W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund to help bring the plan to life.
Construction of the deck portion of the park is expected to be completed by summer 2022. The Phase I park and its full amenities is expected to open in late 2023.
Learn more about southern gateway park
Texas Trees Foundation
Dallas’ Southwestern Medical District is an internationally recognized place of healing, but its outdoor spaces do not reflect its stories of vibrant health, innovative medicine and positive well-being. In 2015, a study done by the Texas Trees Foundation showed the district to be one of the largest urban heat islands in Dallas
, with less than 7 percent tree canopy to lessen the negative effects of heat on human health.
In 2019, CFT gave $1.2 million to the Texas Trees Foundation
for an effort to transform the area surrounding the district’s hospitals and medical centers into the Southwestern Medical District Streetscape and Park. The landscape design includes a linear parkway with a 10-acre park that will be developed over the next several years.
The reimagined area will focus on evidence-based design that the Texas Tree Foundation says will enhance the environment, uplift nearby neighborhoods and businesses, spur economic development and, most of all, provide a nurturing experience for the more than 4 million people who visit the district annually.
Learn more the urban streetscape and park
Trinity Park Conservancy
The Trinity Park Conservancy works as a steward and champion of Dallas’ largest public green space: the 10,000 acres of the Trinity River. The river, the organization believes, is a natural gathering place for residents and is rich with opportunities for uniting people, enriching lives through nature and creating economic development.
In 2018, the conservancy was selected to design, construct and maintain Harold Simmons Park in a private-public partnership with the city of Dallas and the Trinity River Corridor Local Government Corporation. The conservancy built an 18-member steering committee, composed entirely of West Dallas residents, to help guide the visioning process. They also gathered an advisory group of city and community leaders to include more voices throughout the process. The conservancy anticipates the community plan will be completed by fall 2022.
CFT invested $300,000 to support a community benefits agreement that would ensure West Dallas residents had a voice in the planning and economic benefits of a park
to be built on 200 acres at the Trinity River Basin, between downtown Dallas and Trinity Groves. The park, which is expected to open in 2023, will draw people to the river to create momentum for the equitable development of areas along the Trinity.
Learn more about Harold Simmons Park
Trust for Public Land
In 2018, the Trust for Public Land partnered with hundreds of Dallas residents to develop a network of parks and trails along Five Mile Creek, a triangular shaped neighborhood in southern Dallas defined by a creek and its tributaries. The goal was to create spaces for hiking, biking, exercise, learning and play in an area filled with natural splendor that is often forgotten, ignored or, worst of all, defiled.
Since that time, the Trust for Public Land has used two investments from CFT to create two parks that are part of its larger transformational plan. In 2019, CFT invested $500,000
for the development of the 1.8-acre South Oak Cliff Renaissance Park & Trail near South Oak Cliff High School. Then, in 2021, CFT granted $895,000
for the creation of the 40-acre Judge Charles Rose, Sr. Park near Paul Quinn College. These two projects show how access to green space can improve quality of life and reintroduce residents to the beauty of their own neighborhood.
Learn more about the Five Mile Creek network
CFT is deeply committed to serving and strengthening Collin County, mobilizing $24 million since 2017 to support nonprofits in the area north of Dallas. Our actions toward this commitment include a partnership with the Hall Group to manage and operate a planned park in Frisco.
The park is part of a 20-year masterplan development that will evolve into a mixed-use work-live-play community.
The masterplan will span around 9.5 million square feet of usable space with a projected value of around $7 billion. Opening in Fall 2023, current construction will include an office tower, boutique hotel, executive suites, luxury residential high-rise, food hall and additional parking, all centered around a programmed community park.
The park is expected to draw the entire community into nature with a variety of activities that encourage overall wellbeing such as jogging trails, pickleball courts and a collection of permanent and rotating art pieces.
Learn more about Hall Park