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New South Dallas park features design based on community ideas

Judge Charles Rose Community Park
Alejandra Martinez
Since moving to Highland Hills in the 90s, Delphine Lockhart has longed for a park where she could meditate and walk daily. She says her neighborhood has been neglected for year, but a new park brings her hope.

The city of Dallas has made several greenspace investments the last three years as part of the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt master plan. At one spot — the Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park — removing invasive species is among the groundwork that’s begun.

Residents from Dallas’ Highland Hills neighborhood are picking color palettes, designs for benches and types of playgrounds for the new Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park.

“When it’s hot, most benches have no cover,” neighborhood resident Delphine Lockhart said, pointing at a poster board with different bench designs. “I wonder if they can do the covers that can go over the benches.”

Judge Charles R. Rose, a justice of the peace and community leader, died in 2019. The 40-acre greenspace named in his honor will be located in south Dallas at the intersection of Simpson Stuart and Bonnie View Road.

At a community meeting last week, city leaders and representatives from The Trust For Public Land (TPL) — a non-profit group that pushes to create and protect public spaces — announced that groundwork had begun at the site.

“We did not design this. You designed this. We had many many community meetings and said we want your thoughts. This is your park,” said council member Tennell Atkins.

He told residents this park is something the community should take pride in.

Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park falls under the umbrella of the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt master plan, which was approved by the Dallas Park and Recreation Board in early 2019 and would connect south and north Dallas through trails. The master plan is in collaboration with the TPL and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Lockhart, who tries to go on daily walks, said parks haven’t always been accessible to her. She thinks a new park in her neighborhood will change her life.

“Most of the parks like this one are more north,” Lockhart said. “We need parks for family fun, for relaxation and to get together with the community. The closer the better.”

Robert Kent
Trust For Public Land
Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park is a new 40.4-acre park coming to Highland Hills and Oak Cliff. Part of the plan is a plaza that would bring the community together for events.

The park will have a recreation center, playgrounds and trails that will connect to other parks in the city.

“The park’s theme is unity and reunion,” said Molly Plummer, North Texas’ program manager for the TPL. “Every day unity for the community and a place to have a beautiful reunion with your family and friends in celebration.”

TPL says that when completed, about 3,700 people will be a 10-minute walk away from the park.

The next community feedback event will be held on Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Tommie Allen Rec Center.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.