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Dallas Reviews Plans for Private Management of Fair Park for the Next 2 Decades

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The city of Dallas, Texas is reviewing a lead bidder with respect to placing the management and operation of Fair Park into private hands, an action which could save it from decline. Bidding to manage the park on a daily basis was opened following discussions to privatize the park approximately two years ago.

At present, both the Dallas City Council and the Park Board have yet to approve the bidder’s plans. Considerable debate is anticipated in that process. The leading bid package was received from a group which includes Spectra (an entertainment and food company owned by Comcast) together with Fair Park First, a non-profit. Spectra currently manages 319 similar properties throughout the U.S. Their proposal was one of only three which were submitted in 2017.

Dallas Reviews Plans for Private Management of Fair Park for 2 Decades

Photo: Facebook/Fair Park, TX

Under this bid, the park’s 277 acres and its buildings would remain the property of the city, and all revenues and operations would be managed by the bidding group. In return, it’s proposing a $100 million savings over the next decade for the city of Dallas. In the midst of review and bid discussions, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings stated that he wishes to ensure the park remains the integral component. Rawlings told dallasnews.com that it’s his intention to “put the park back into Fair Park.”

Dallas Reviews Plans for Private Management of Fair Park for 2 Decades

Photo: Facebook/Fair Park, TX

If the Spectra and Fair Park First bid is approved, city officials have stated that for Spectra’s part, it will bring decades of experience in international venue management to the property. Spectra presently works with 22 agricultural centers and fairgrounds, without having had a single terminated contract. Willis Winters, Director of Dallas’ Park and Recreation Department (and a leading Fair Park historian) voiced his approval of the plan. He told dallasnews.com that he thinks it’s the right team and that the city won’t find another opportunity to work with a group so experienced for another generation. The bid would produce a 20-year management contract for Spectra and Fair Park First.