Sports leagues decry plans for Dallas park

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on May 25, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 25 at 10:26 PM

Griggs Park

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DALLAS — Griggs Park in Uptown is one of the city's oldest public parks. Named after a former slave, it dates back decades, and everyone agrees that it is badly in need of a makeover.

But no one can decide what it should look like in the future.

Griggs is a weary old park on a pricey piece of property.

Five nights a week, sports leagues reserve fields in the park. But the trampled grass, aging lights and exhausted infrastructure are crying out for an update.

"Something definitely needs to be done," said Michael Violi, director of operations for the Dallas Sport & Social Club.

Problem is, sports leagues say, designs for the park's future leave them on the sidelines.

"There's a higher demand for the fields than the actual supply," Violi said. "People in the City of Dallas don't want to drive out to Carrollton to play."

The proposed re-do shows landscaping replacing lights and a fountain where the fields are currently located.

The new million-dollar design is intended to improve aesthetics and help reduce traffic congestion. But the Dallas Sport & Social Club says the city needs more urban parks with playing fields rather than ones with landscaped walking trails.

Redesigning Griggs Park has been discussed for years, but never before has it been so imminent. As of September, Dallas will stop taking reservations for sports leagues to play at the facility. Soon after, the Uptown Public Improvement District expects work to get under way.

"You'll still be able to play ball out there; you'll still be able to play rugby and soccer out there," said improvement district CEO Jim Reagan. "You just won't have a lighted ball field."

It'll be a makeshift field, leagues say. They're still holding out for a compromise as the clock counts down to September.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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