AUSTIN, Texas — The renovation efforts for Fair Park continue, and with the passing of Senate Bill 2181 in the House on Wednesday, lawmakers are one step closer to securing funds for the project. The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature.

What You Need To Know

  • SB 2181, a sports and community revenue project bill, secures funds for the renovation of Fair Park in South Dallas 

  • The city of Dallas and voters will have to approve SB 2181

  • The Senate passed SB 2181 Wednesday and now it heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk to be signed into law

“I’m happy to say that SB 2181 passed the House,” said Representative Angie Chen Button, one of five sponsors for the legislation. “This bill will help improve Fair Park.”

According to Sen. Royce West, the author of SB 2181, the sports and community revenue bill will not be funded through resident’s taxes.

“SB 2181 helps provide a path for funding and renovation of Fair Park,” he said on Facebook. “The city of Dallas and voters would have to approve the measure, but it is a step towards renovating and restoring Fair Park to its former glory.”

In April, West presented the bill before the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee. The full bill reads:

SECTION 1.  Section 334.008(c), Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows: (c) To the extent that a provision of this chapter, including Section [Sections] 334.024(f), [334.1015, and 334.2515,] applies to a venue project that is a municipal parks and recreation system or facility, the provision applies [those provisions apply] to a venue project authorized by this section, and references to a municipality are considered references to a county to which this section applies.        

SECTION 2.  Section 334.2515, Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 334.2515.  APPLICATION. Except as provided by Section 334.2516, this subchapter does not apply to the financing of a venue project that is: (1)  an area described by Section 334.001(4)(C); (2) [an area or facility that is part of a municipal parks and recreation system as described by Section 334.001(4)(D);  [(3)] a project described by Section 334.001(4)(E), except for a project described by Section 334.001(4)(A); or (3) [(4)]  a facility described by Section 334.001(4)(G).        

SECTION 3.  Section 334.1015, Local Government Code, is repealed.       

SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.

In October, The Dallas City Council unanimously approved a master plan for Fair Park, a National Historic Landmark in South Dallas. The 277-acre project includes transforming the area to add more green spaces, a biking and walking trail, a children’s area and a pavilion that will host outdoor gatherings such as fitness classes and outdoor movies.

Recently, Fair Park First enlisted the help of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush as honorary chairs to help raise $85 million for park improvements. In addition to the Bushes, former mayor and ambassador Ron Kirk and his wife, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Jim Keyes and Margo Ramirez Keyes will serve as unity co-chairs. The funds from the fundraiser will go toward making Fair Park a year-round destination. In April, the nonprofit organization launched its community meeting allowing residents to offer suggestions about the project expected to span 10 to 15 years.