City News Roundup

Controversial Oak Lawn park gets another new name and more Dallas news

Controversial Oak Lawn park gets another new name and more Dallas news

Oak Lawn Park in Dallas
It's a pretty park no matter what you call it. Courtesy photo

A park in the Oak Lawn neighborhood gets yet another new name, while a board designed to oversee the Dallas Police Department is in line for a makeover.

Here's what happened in Dallas news this week:

Oak Lawn Park
A park that's been at the center of controversy for two years has another new name.

Previously known as Lee Park, the name of this 14-acre community park along Turtle Creek Boulevard between Hall Street and Lemmon Avenue was changed in 2017 to its original name, Oak Lawn Park, after a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee was removed.

But the nonprofit Turtle Creek Conservancy proposed that the name be changed again, this time to Turtle Creek Park. The group has managed the park for more than 20 years, renting out Arlington Hall and garden space for weddings and events. But according to Conservancy members, a new identity was needed to bring a fresh start to marketing for event rentals.

The decision was up to the Park and Recreation Board, who voted on April 4 to rename Oak Lawn Park to Turtle Creek Park.

A community group called Take Back Oak Lawn made a last-ditch effort to preserve the name Oak Lawn Park, but organizers failed to gather enough signatures on a petition.

The Park and Recreation Board's decision immediately renamed the park, with no new names considered for at least 60 days, in accordance with a Park Board policy.

Police board
A citizen board charged with overseeing police officer behavior and misconduct is about to get a makeover.

The Citizens Police Review Board has been involved in a year-long process to increase transparency and accountability. The board was instituted as a way for citizens to voice their concerns about police behavior to city officials. But it's been dogged by criticism.

On April 3, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall presented a plan to add funding, staff, and authority to the existing board. Her proposal creates the Office of Community Police Oversight with a paid staff of three people to investigate critical police incidents and citizen complaints. A director would work in the City Manager's office outside of the DPD and be hired by the city manager and the board's president.

The renamed Citizen’s Police Oversight Board would still be made up of 15 residents appointed by the mayor and City Council. This group would hear cases brought forward by DPD or the oversight office and make recommendations to Chief Hall. The police chief would still make the final determination and discipline decisions.

The council is expected to consider the changes at its April 24 meeting.

I-35 closures
There will be full night-time closures of north- and southbound I-35E for work on the new Beckley bridge through April.

One is coming up next week: All lanes of northbound I-35E at Beckley Avenue will be closed overnight through an extended weekend of April 10-13. Hours of the closure will be 9 pm to 5 am April 10-12, and 9 pm to 10 am April 13.

Traffic will be diverted to the Zang Blvd./Beckley Ave. exit.

Appraisals are out
Dallas County Appraisal District begins sending out property appraisals on April 12, and will send out its last batch on May 29. The deadline to file a protest is June 13.