Belo Foundation Pledges $30 Million for Dallas Parks Plan

Belo Foundation Pledges $30 Million for Dallas Parks Plan

The Belo Foundation has pledged $30 million toward a $70 million public-private effort to create four new parks in downtown Dallas, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Reorganized as Parks for Downtown Dallas to reflect its focus on creating green space, the foundation will offer the $30 million — nearly all of its endowment — to the city through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant. The organization plans to raise an additional $5 million for the match, with the goal of boosting the total raised for the four new parks within ten years to $70 million in public and private funds. The city's share of the funding would come from a bond issue that is expected to be voted on by 2017.

The foundation has helped support the construction of three parks in downtown Dallas since 2009, including Belo Garden, the $15 million price tag for which board chair Robert Decherd and his wife, Maureen, along with the foundation and other donors, helped fund. The Decherd Foundation, the couple's family foundation, also gave $150,000 to the city in 2012, with the Decherds personally contributing an additional $15,000, to fund an update to the downtown parks master plan that includes the four new parks. Decherd, vice chair and former CEO of A.H. Belo Corporation, which owns the Dallas Morning News, will continue to serve as chairman of Parks for Downtown Dallas.

"We’re eager to work alongside the city to ensure the four priority parks are built and built soon," said Decherd, adding that it was critical that work on the parks begins as soon as possible, before rising downtown land values render the project too expensive. "We are and will be shovel ready. We can build these parks."

Conor Shine. "Belo Foundation Pledges $30 Million to Complete Downtown Parks Plan." Dallas Morning News 10/29/2015.