Is there a category on Craigslist for "Parks for sale"? Because Dallas just sold one to Rowlett, for a sweet $31.8 million. The Dallas City Council approved the sale of Elgin B. Robertson Park to the City of Rowlett, specifying that the proceeds and interest from the deal would be used for new facilities and improvements to the Dallas park system.
Rowlett will annex the property, a 257-acre green space off Interstate 30 with facilities for hiking, boating and fishing along the western shore of Lake Ray Hubbard. Dallas gets to improve and refurbish its parks.
Dallas Park and Recreation Department director Willis Winters said in a statement that the city council's action will allow the department to develop new aquatic facilities, including five new community centers and three new regional centers. "We are excited that Dallas residents will reap the recreational benefits of this sale," he said.
The sale is expected to close sometime between April and September.
In 2012, the Dallas Park and Recreation Board adopted a plan to find money to build family aquatic centers and replace the city's outdated community pools. In 2013, Dallas voters passed a proposal calling for the sale or exchange of the park.
As part of the sale agreement, Dallas will redraw the park's boundaries to reflect its location within Rowlett and give Rowlett two sites on the property to develop new marinas. In addition, Dallas will transfer to Rowlett the park's existing marina lease and first responder and public safety responsibilities for designated lake bridges.
Rowlett will take over trash removal and other maintenance functions that are currently being handled by Dallas Water Utilities. That'll save Dallas $57,000 annually.
In exchange for the boundary adjustments, Rowlett agreed to a revenue-sharing plan beginning in 2036 that will give Dallas 25 percent of Rowlett's tax revenues on real and personal property, hotel occupancy, mixed beverages, and future tax opportunities. Annually, Dallas stands to receive $2 million indefinitely from the agreement.
Rowlett city manager Brian Funderburk said that plans for the area include developing high-end, single-family and multifamily residences, as well as commercial properties such as restaurants and hotels. The money for the purchase is coming from Rowlett's development partner, Donahue Development.
Dallas Park and Recreation Board president Max Wells called it "an unprecedented opportunity for our city and its great park system."