DALLAS — Editor's note: This article was originally published here in the Dallas Business Journal.
The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to acquire a nearly 300-acre park property in southern Dallas.
Located north of Cedar Ridge Preserve, Big Cedar Wilderness features over 50,000 trees and a variety of cliffs, hills, creeks and tributaries. The property is estimated to be worth over $17 million and was privately held by Liberty Bankers Insurance Group President Brad Philips and his company.
Philips donated the park to Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the property will be preserved as a natural area and public park.
"Today, we took another major step toward achieving our goal of becoming the city with the best park system in Texas," Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a prepared statement. "Big Cedar Wilderness is a critical amenity, and our commitment to preserving and enhancing it will ensure more Dallas residents have the opportunity to enjoy this exceptional green haven."
TPL worked with Phillips, the City of Dallas and other community stakeholders for the past 14 months to secure the space. TPL will now partner with Dallas' Park and Recreation Department to enhance existing amenities and ease access to the space once the acquisition is complete this summer.
Preserving the park property will add 282 acres of land to the nature corridor in southern Dallas that includes Cedar Hill State Park, Cedar Ridge Preserve and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center.
"One of the most special aspects of Big Cedar Wilderness are the passionate and dedicated people who have cherished this greenspace for decades," TPL Texas state director Robert Kent said. "We look forward to working with these stakeholders and community members to help make Big Cedar Wilderness an even better place to engage with nature, improve health and to connect with each other."