Imagine a rundown shopping center transformed in one week into a public park with amenities that enhance the surrounding neighborhood, such as green space, sport courts, a children’s play area, a walking path and dynamic programming from the community, for the community. That vision is about to become reality from October 15 to November 14 at the northwest corner of Forest Lane and Audelia Road in Northeast Dallas (9759 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75243). The community is invited to the official opening and activities on Saturday, October 16 at 12:30 p.m.
The Park at Forest-Audelia is a colorful and vibrant demonstration park, designed by the Better Block Foundation, to improve safety and function. About 3,500 square feet in area with landscaping and planters, the pop-up park features sport courts, wireless internet, flexible lawn space, shade, seating, a community garden, a children’s play area and daily activities. Kids U provides after school homework help the entire month; Junior Players teaches creative writing, flamenco dance and theater workshops; Pepsico provides meals and snacks. Weekends and weekdays are packed with entertainment, arts activities, exercise classes, health and library programs. Public seating can support more than 100 guests and includes signature Better Block’s Wikiblock furniture pieces, outdoor air hammocks, movable tables and café sets. A muralized, shaded stage supports a full-sized band or a dance group and also serves as an outdoor classroom.
Through an initiative with Project Safe Neighborhood and Dallas Parks Department, the Better Block Foundation and community leaders in the Forest-Audelia neighborhood are working to show that crime can be addressed and community built through the creation of beautiful and inviting public space. As the City of Dallas Parks Department recently bought the piece of property where the demonstration will be held, Better Block will showcase ideas that the community can give feedback on, thus influencing the long-term development of the property and improve the quality of life for all neighbors at Forest Audelia.
Kristin Leiber, Better Block senior project manager, said, “We have worked with the community to see what resources and elements they would like to see in the park, and their top choices were green space, resources and activities, and a kids’ play area. Along with the City of Dallas Parks Department, we are excited to be working on a design that meets the city’s and community’s needs. We have 30 days of programming from nonprofit partners and small businesses that will activate the space regularly and with purpose, especially on the weekends.”
Dallas Councilmember Adam McGough of District 10 said, “The persistence and resilience of so many made possible the launch of this temporary-park installation. This important step marks another key milestone on the journey toward making Forest-Audelia a safer, more vibrant place at which neighbors and families may live, work and gather. I’m thankful for the work of the Better Block Foundation and so many other community partners who are bringing to life the vision for a better future at this site. I’m eager to witness community members enjoying this temporary space and to listen to neighbors’ feedback to ensure the new, permanent space to come proves a longstanding community asset.”
To see the full calendar of events, visit https://www.betterblock.org/forestaudelia.
Neighbors will also be able to schedule events and meet-ups at this website.
Build dates, including community volunteer workshops, start on October 11. Those who are interested in volunteering can sign up here.
Leiber added, “The park is a tool, but the community engagement and activation are the heart of any grassroots project in a neighborhood. Help us build this park, and then join us at the many events.”
About the Better Block Foundation:
Better Block Foundation is an urban design nonprofit that educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. Find out more by visiting betterblock.org.