Master plan for redevelopment to be unveiled during invitation-only event at Heritage Auction Galleries
The Friends of Reverchon Park are kicking off a campaign to upgrade the 46-acre park with an invitation-only celebration next week.
The event will be held at Heritage Auction Galleries on Feb. 23. The group, which is dedicated to educating the community about the park and raising money for its restoration, will unveil a master plan for redevelopment of the 91-year-old park.
“What we are trying to do is target people in the community that we think will want to be supportive of the park’s master plan,” said Linda White, spokeswoman for the one-year-old group. “We’re partnering with Heritage Auction Galleries to introduce the master plan to some people we thought might be interested in sponsoring some things.”
The master plan was developed by the landscaping firm Mesa Design Group of Dallas
The city’s 2003 bond program provided for $2 million in improvements to Reverchon Park, but Friends of Reverchon Park would like to make about $15 million in upgrades, White said.
“What we hope to do, for example, is to interest people in adopting and taking on the ball field to restore it to its historic status,” White said.
Other projects to be adopted out would be reconfiguration of the recreation center to create an outdoor pavilion to hold events, redeveloping the iris garden and installing new gates to the park from Maple Avenue, she said.
White said improvements to the park are needed because it is a major feature of Oak Lawn.
“Our community is getting denser by the minute,” White said. “There’s not going to be much left. We’re hoping we can preserve what little we have and tie it into what the Turtle Creek Association and the Dallas Theater Center are doing.”
Some of the improvements already scheduled included new entrances to the Katy Trail from the park and new lights at the ballpark.
Michael Milliken, president of the Oak Lawn Committee, said he considers the revitalization of Reverchon Park to be essential to upgrading the quality of life in Oak Lawn.
“Reverchon has not received enough attention lately, and this is a good way to get attention back on it,” Milliken said. “It’s a very valuable resource for the neighborhood and the community as a whole.”
White said Friends of Reverchon Park will co-host the annual “Reverchon Round-Up” with the Scottish Rite Hospital on March 4. The event, started by the hospital eight years ago, invites the community to help clean up the park in the morning and celebrates the work’s end with lunch in the park.
“It’s a way of getting people acquainted with the park,” White said. “It’s really amazing in the last eight years since the hospital started doing it how much nicer the park looks.”
Reverchon Park was established in 1915 when the Dallas Park Board bought 36 acres from the John D. Cole estate. It was envisioned to be the Central Park of Dallas and was named after Julien Reverchon, a well-known local botanist who died in 1905.
In the 1930s the Works Progress Administration built a working well, iris garden amphitheater, stone pathways, steps and vistas that are still in place today. The park was expanded to 46 acres in 1951.
For more information visit www.reverchonparkfriends.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 17, 2006.