DALLAS -- The three-year campaign to hand over operations of Dallas’ Fair Park to a private, non-profit management foundation hit a major road block on Thursday.
New Dallas City Attorney Larry Casto issued an opinion advising City Council members they should put that job of managing Fair Park out for competitive bids.
Mayor Mike Rawlings says when he began the privatization process three years ago, only one entity and one person — Walt Humann — showed any interest.
In recent weeks, at least one other qualified provider has shown an interest in competing for the job of running Fair Park.
Mayor Rawlings says opening the job up for bids now is a good idea.
"It will push the [privatization] effort back a little bit," Mayor Rawlings said. "I think it's better to make sure we do it the right way and ultimately I think we will be in a better place."
Several city leaders have been calling for an open bidding process, including Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, and City Council members Tiffinni Young and Adam McGough. Mayor Rawlings said in a statement he supported the move.
"I concur with their recommendation to use an open and transparent process to ensure that we receive the best deal for the City of Dallas on a Fair Park management agreement," the mayor said. "I am grateful for their continued work on this critical issue."
Some leaders have also accused the current private foundation, the Fair Park Texas Foundation, of not doing more to "put the ‘park’ back in Fair Park."
However, Mayor Rawlings also reiterated support for the Fair Park Texas Foundation.
"The Fair Park Texas Foundation proposal was the only plan put forth [three years ago] and it is one that I believe would put us on the path to reinvigorating the jewel that is Fair Park," Rawlings said. "Walt Humann, the head of the Foundation, has done exceptional work and I’m hopeful that he and his board will continue to pursue a Fair Park management agreement."