Trust for Public Land Celebrates Groundbreaking of Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park in Southern Dallas
Today, Trust for Public Land and the City of Dallas are celebrating the beginning of construction on Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park in Highland Hills.
In 2019, the Texas Legislature and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department awarded a $1 million grant to the park to recognize the legacy of Judge Charles R. Rose, a long-time Justice of the Peace and community leader who served the Highland Hills community for decades. The park is named in his honor.
“Currently, only about half of Five Mile Creek residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park and the need for quality outdoor spaces for exercise, socializing, and recreation could not be greater,” said Robert Kent, Texas State Director for Trust for Public Land. “This park was inspired by the needs and desires of the Highland Hills community and we’re honored to be part of bringing their vision to life.”
“For far too long, neighborhoods in southern Dallas have lacked easy access to parks and trails that bring joy to our city’s families and improve their quality of life,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “Our historically underserved and overlooked communities deserve better. That is why I am thrilled that we are breaking ground on Judge Charles Rose Park in partnership with Texas Parks & Wildlife and Trust for Public Land. The park will be a wonderful asset for the people of Highland Hills – and it will serve as a model for the kind of partnerships that we need to build a better future for all Dallas residents.”
Trust for Public Land, along with State Representative Toni Rose and Dallas City Councilmember Tennell Atkins, helped organize virtual community meetings, volunteer events, surveys, and phone calls to determine what residents wanted to see in their new park. Trails, spaces to gather, and playgrounds were among the most desired features. Inspiration from Judge Charles R. Rose’s legacy and community engagement helped determine the four themes for the park to be unity, reunion, nature, and access.
“Day in and day out, I watched my father, the late Judge Charles Rose, care for our community through personal sacrifice and unfaltering dedication,” said State Representative Toni Rose. “The Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park honors his legacy of love by celebrating the people of our community, and will serve as a cornerstone for health, relaxation, and reflection for generations to come.”
Adopted by the City of Dallas in 2019, the Five Mile Creek Master Plan calls for a network of parks and dozens of miles of trails across Oak Cliff, following Five Mile Creek and its tributaries. The new trails will connect this part of Dallas with the city’s existing trail network. South Oak Cliff Renaissance Park opened earlier this year and the 82-acre Woody Branch Park in Glen Oaks will open to the public in the coming years. This greenbelt network will provide new recreational opportunities and unparalleled access to the natural beauty of southern Dallas.
After the Five Mile Creek Masterplan was adopted by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department in 2019, Trust for Public Land and The City of Dallas began implementing its recommendations, including the purchase of this 40-acre vacant lot in Highland Hills to become a new park.
“Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park will be essential to the well-being of this community and its residents, giving individuals and families multiple recreational and leisure options in a natural and pristine setting,” said Dallas City Council Member, Tennell Atkins. “This 40-acre urban oasis located right in the heart of Highland Hills is another stellar example of the continued growth, progress and improvements taking place in District 8.”
The park is located across the street from the Highland Hills Library and within a mile of Paul Quinn College, Kennedy-Curry Middle School, and J.N. Ervin Elementary School. Once this park is open, it will serve more than 3,500 residents who live within a 10-minute walk, as well as thousands of students from nearby Paul Quinn College, UNT Dallas, Kennedy Curry Middle School, and other educational institutions.
For two years, TPL worked hand-in-hand with hundreds of nearby residents to develop a community-inspired master plan for the park. At community events, residents expressed their desire for the park to be a welcoming space to bring people together. As a result, the expansive 40-acre park will contain shaded gathering spaces, providing residents with a place to host events and spend time with family and friends. Several acres of Blackland Prairie will be restored while preserved woodland will offer a scenic walking trail. With an all-abilities playground, community-inspired art, and multiple spacious lawns, there will be plenty of room for everyone to play and picnic. And as part of the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt, the park will connect to the city’s growing trail system, providing accessible exploration of the Trinity River and its neighboring communities.
“Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park is a great example of the wonderful green spaces we can create through partnership and collaboration with Dallas’s non-profit and philanthropic community,” said Dallas Park and Recreation Department Director John D. Jenkins. “We are grateful to the partners and supporters who have come together to make this park possible.”
“As part of the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt Master Plan, this new park is one of several green spaces that is creating new recreational options for southern Dallas,” said Arun Agarwal, President of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board. “Working with The Trust for Public Land, Dallas will make every effort to see that communities south of Interstate 30 have parks, playgrounds, green spaces and other amenities desired by residents to enhance and enrich their lives.”
Construction will be led by Phillips/May Corporation and Butler & Butler Construction, a 100% Minority/Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) joint venture. Once the park is complete, the City of Dallas will operate and maintain the park.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.