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(DALLAS) — Dallas Park and Recreation Board today approved the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt masterplan that will create an interconnected series of trails, parks and green spaces following the main branch and tributaries of Five Mile Creek in southern Dallas. The project exemplifies community-focused urban renewal through an enhanced open space network. The urban greenbelt connects historically underserved southern Dallas neighborhoods to areas of natural beauty, public transportation nodes, educational institutions and recreational amenities.
Willis Winters, Director, Dallas Park and Recreation Department noted, “Our vision statement calls for the preservation of open spaces, and the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt Trail is one of the most important corridors of open space in southern Dallas. Thanks to the leadership of organizations such as The Trust for Public Land and community stakeholders, we now have a masterplan that provides guidance in making the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt into a corridor that connects our existing parks with both nature and trails, preserves natural space in a revitalizing part of our city, and provides leisure opportunities for residents.”
Analysis by The Trust for Public Land indicate that of the nearly 187,000 people who live in the Five Mile Creek watershed, only 53 percent have access to a park or trail within a 10-minute walk of their home. The Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt proposes 23.2 miles of new trails, as well as the creation of four new parks to provide better access and enjoyment of nature. Once complete, over 56,000 people will live within a 10-minute walk of the greenbelt network, including 22,000 community members who previously lacked close-to-home park access. In addition, the plan provides a holistic framework for balancing environmental stewardship, recreational amenities, and equitable development.
“High quality parks and trails inspire healthier, more connected neighborhoods,” said Molly Plummer of The Trust for Public Land. “The Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt represents a major milestone toward park equity in our city, delivering environmental, health, and social benefits, while protecting and preserving the iconic hills and valleys of southern Dallas. With today’s adoption of the masterplan, we are one step closer to having a park within a 10-minute walk of everyone in Dallas.”
Five Mile Creek meanders through southern Dallas for 15 miles before reaching the Trinity River. Home to some of Dallas’ most important natural landscapes, including native blackland prairie and limestone-bottom creeks, the creek and its many tributaries carve a series of valleys across southwest Dallas. The watershed drains approximately 70 square miles of the city and is a vital component of the city’s natural and ecological infrastructure.
The planning process incorporated input from local stakeholders, including civic leaders, educational institutions, neighborhood associations, and community groups. Four public workshops, numerous interviews, and a community survey generated viewpoints and ideas that informed the design and layout of the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt masterplan.
The inclusive nature of the masterplan activates a base of long-term stewardship of the greenbelt. “Growing up across the street from Five Mile Creek on East Pentagon Parkway, I would often explore the creek and enjoy its nature and its beauty,” said Taylor Toynes, Dallas Park Board representative for District 4. “The child in me smiles thinking of how the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt will be a cherished neighborhood asset for generations to come. What The Trust for Public Land and TBG Partners are proposing will be transformational and accessible for everyone in our community. To think about how our youth will be able to explore the same creek as a developed and safe park built for educational experiences is a dream come true.”
The project is facilitated by the City of Dallas, The Trust for Public Land, and landscape architecture and planning firm TBG Partners, with extensive community input to shape the vision and design direction. With today’s approval of the masterplan by the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, the project team will begin acquiring key sites through 2020, at which point phase one design and development will commence.