Disadvantages of Dallas Park

Mellica Askari, Staff Writer

The city of Dallas is planning to build America’s largest urban park along the Trinity River, reaching 10,000 acres of greenery by 2021, roughly 12 times larger than Manhattan’s Central Park. The park is being funded by generous private donations and is projected to attract many tourists and move more residents downtown to stimulate Dallas economically in the long run.

While this may a huge opportunity for Dallas and promote tourism, people are forgetting to consider an important aspect of the Trinity River region: its residents. It is surrounded by extremely low-income housing, cracking at its foundations and having a majority of their possessions in the yard as their home simply cannot fit it all. Once this park starts construction and becomes close to completion, the value of these homes would shoot above what the current residents can afford. These citizens need aid, not another burden that will be placed upon by the park. These homes may even have to be destroyed in the process of building luxury condominiums or further expanding the park. Even if they decide not to demolish the homes, then their rent would exponentially increase, inevitably leading to residents being driven out of their current homes and possibly forcing them to resort to homelessness. While this may not be a guaranteed result, it is not plausible for a city to spend millions of dollars on building a state-of-the-art urban park and leave its surroundings unaffected.

At what point does expanding a city’s economy justify allowing the impacts of gentrification to ruin the lives of the people who have lived there for years on end? Gentrification is the process of renovating a certain area to conform to higher-class standards and is still a very active method of making cities more appealing. Even though the development of the urban park is further down the road, historic downtown Plano is beginning the detrimental process by tearing down old antique shops and building high-end housing in its place. Gentrification not only affects people’s lives but also erases unique and historical aspects of certain cities, making it necessary to avoid it at all costs.

It is an unnecessary toll taken on the residents of these communities, who most likely do not have the financial stability to easily secure a new home. The people of Dallas need to give this situation the attention it deserves and provide as much assistance as possible to those who need it most. Dallas is a city of great unity, generosity and community; qualities that should not be forgotten as it moves forward. The people should endeavor to make this city a viable and affordable place to live for people of all backgrounds.