The City of Dallas is committed to supporting education, culture, recreation and art to enhance the prosperity, health and well-being of all Dallas residents and visitors.
The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) provides opportunities for Dallas citizens and its visitors to experience arts and cultural activities throughout the City. Cultural Centers presented concerts, exhibits, rehearsals, tours, classes, and special events throughout the year, bringing 2,994 programs to their respective neighborhoods, and creating arts experiences for 116,734 patrons including 6,579 students in grades 3 to 12.
Park and Recreation
Dallas Park and Recreation experienced significant growth as a result of numerous ambitious projects and accomplishments. Crucial to this success was the implementation and launch of the department’s newly designed website: www.dallasparks.org. The department also initiated major comprehensive planning projects, including the update to the Renaissance Plan, an economic impact study of the park system and development of a Recreation Master Plan.
The annual It’s My Park Day cleanup drew enthusiastic helpers again in 2013 and 2014. The fall event had 1,228 volunteers and the spring event brought together 1,750 volunteers.
The City of Dallas and Dallas ISD expanded their Youth Sports Partnership to include 70 elementary schools and 10 middle schools. A successful partnership with the Texas Rangers Foundation provided the Junior RBI and RBI programs with uniforms and equipment for youth who participated on more than 100 teams. The NCAA Final Four and the Big XII provided $135,000 to the gym renovation project at Exline Recreation Center and the installation of a “Green” outdoor basketball court at the MLK Recreation Center. The Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative (MyFi) received 1st place and a $25,000 award from Aetna Voices of Health Competition and the Council of Mayor’s for its unique programs to prevent childhood obesity. The MyFi program grew from 12 pilot recreation centers in Dallas to 36 during the year and went from 950 participants to 1,235. The program is offered at no cost to children and teens as a part of the Dallas Park and Recreation After School Program.
Fair Park Sparks, a signature event that introduced more than a million new lights on campus buildings and trees, was attended by 20,000 visitors. Food Truck Frenzy was a new effort in the park to attract the local business lunch traffic and park visitors. The Fair Park Cell Phone Tour was launched with strategic stations throughout the park, featuring historical perspectives on notable buildings and art and architecture dating to the 1936 Texas Centennial. Annual events including the State Fair of Texas, North Texas Irish Festival, Earth Day Texas, Kwanzaa Fest, Diwali Mela, and A Taste of Dallas continue to make Fair Park a favorite destination for citizens and tourists alike. The Cotton Bowl Stadium hosted a record number of events including International Soccer matches and High School Football games.
Hikers and bikers can enter the 4.6 mile Trinity Skyline Trail at Sylvan Avenue, Continental and West Dallas Gateway, Commerce Street near Riverfront Boulevard, and the Trinity Overlook at Beckley Avenue. TAPS grant funds will take the trail north, connecting to Irving’s Campion Trail. Upon completion of the Horseshoe Project in 2017, the trail will connect to the existing .86 mile Santa Fe Trestle Trail.
Within the 6,200 acre Great Trinity Forest, the AT&T Trail (3.2 miles connecting to 4.5 miles of existing forest trail) provides relaxation and a restorative view of nature. The forest network is 17 miles of trails including hard and soft surface trails connecting IH20 to White Rock Lake. Trail development is underway for the Elm Fork through a recent grant and the construction award for the Joppa Connector has been approved. When complete in 2015, the 10 mile loop on either side of Great Trinity Forest Way will provide recreation, maintenance of the forest and other leisure and environmental activities.
From a recreation and environmental standpoint, the department continues to work with local and regional charities, corporations and other groups to foster awareness of the Trinity River and to establish innovative conservation and restoration programs.
In FY 2013-14, Trinity Watershed Management conducted 10 events bringing 2,200 people to the Trinity River. Volunteer efforts, litter abatement performed by City staff; tire removal; and land restoration projects resulted in more than 900 tons of litter and debris being taken to the McCommas Bluff Landfill.
This Southwest Airlines program featured two major events at the Santa Fe Trestle Trail. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly joined volunteers, Trinity Trust Foundation CEO Gail Thomas, Student Conservation Association president and CEO Dale Penny, and Dallas Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan to kick off the 2014 year of service in April. During the event, 150 volunteers planted 300 native plants and broadcast seeds over a ¼ acre area.
And in June, Southwest Airlines joined 17 corporations and 75 volunteers from across Dallas to install 320 native plants at the Santa Fe Trestle Trail. Southwest Airlines’ grant is $150,000 for three years.
These events either brought people to the Trinity River corridor or brought images of the river to public places. An estimated 625,000 people learned about the Trinity this fiscal year.
The City also worked with the Pemberton Hill Big Spring Friends and the Texas Master Naturalists to implement regular water quality sampling at the Big Spring at Pemberton Hill, in addition to implementing a native plant salvage and relocation program. The City also contracted with the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility to develop a plan to help manage the natural resources including the Big Spring, the prairies, wetlands, and area forest lands.
The City continued to partner in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality‘s (TCEQ) Texas Stream Team program that recruits volunteers to conduct monthly sampling to augment the City‘s water quality monitoring program. Volunteers monitor at over 60 locations in addition to the 136 City water quality monitoring stations. City staff provided volunteers with sampling kits and equipment and worked with groups such as the Aquatic Alliance and the Texas Master Naturalists to conduct training in water quality sampling and stream observation.