The Trust for Public Land has received two new major philanthropic commitments to help fund the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt, a network of parks and trails it’s developing across Oak Cliff and southwest Dallas that could have benefits to equitable and healthy living in those areas.
The Boone Family Foundation dedicated $2.65 million, and Lyda Hill Philanthropies committed $2.5 million, TPL said in a statement. Added to previous grants received from the Sapphire Foundation, Victoria and William Chaney, and others, the new philanthropic support total for the project has risen to more than $5.7 million.
“Parks have the power to improve health, benefit the environment, build equity, and bring the community together, but only about half of the nearly 200,000 residents living in the Five Mile Creek watershed have access to park or trail within a 10-minute walk of home,” Robert Kent, Texas State Director for Trust for Public Land, said in a statement. “The entire greenbelt network will benefit not only the residents of southwest Dallas and Oak Cliff but make the natural beauty of the area accessible to all of Dallas’s 1.3 million residents. We’re thrilled to have the support of the Boone Family Foundation and Lyda Hill Philanthropies to help further our efforts.”
The greenbelt’s master plan was adopted in 2019
The Five Mile Creek Master Plan was adopted by the city of Dallas in 2019. It calls for a series of parks and over a dozen miles of trails across Oak Cliff, following Five Mile Creek and its tributaries. The new trails will connect that part of Dallas with the city’s more than 160 miles of existing trails.
“For 80 years, Dallas has dreamed of a greenbelt along Five Mile Creek to benefit the city’s health, connectivity, and environment,” Tillie Borchers, chair of the TPL Texas Advisory Board, said in a statement. “With these new commitments, we’re closer than ever to making this long-imagined dream a reality for our city.”
TPL said that the greenbelt will connect to South Oak Cliff Renaissance Park, which TPL developed and opened in November 2021, and the under-construction Judge Charles R. Rose Community Park, which is scheduled to open in 2023. TPL said that the 82-acre Woody Branch Park also is within the watershed. TPL helped acquire that park for the city of Dallas in 2021.
From 2019-2022, TPL said it raised $13.3 million to fund these parks. That includes previous gifts from the Boone Family Foundation totaling $2.4 million.
Mayor Johnson: greenbelt progress shows Dallas ‘at its best’
“Dallas is at its best when we work together to make our neighborhoods more vibrant. That is why I am grateful that the Boone Family Foundation and Lyda Hill Philanthropies have generously agreed to help us fund the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement. “This is a high-priority infrastructure project that will help us continue to capitalize on the momentum in our city. The trail can improve the environment and the health, quality of life, and mobility of residents in the historically underserved and overlooked communities like the ones where I grew up. And today, we got two significant steps closer to achieving this major win for southern Dallas.”
Garrett Boone, Dallas entrepreneur and Chair of the Boone Family Foundation, said the greenbelt project has many benefits.
‘A transformational asset’
“The Five Mile Creek Greenbelt will be a transformational asset for southern Dallas that will advance equitable development and provide environmental and health benefits for generations to come,” Boone said in a statement. “We are proud to continue our support for the project with our new commitment.
Philanthropist Lyda Hill said children and families will see the benefits of of the project.
“I’m so excited to support the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt, which will benefit so many children and families in southern Dallas,” Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, said. “As a lifelong supporter and user of parks and trails, I know how important these assets are to building creative minds, healthy bodies, and thriving communities. It’s not the size of the check that matters, but the joy I see watching children and adults come together in community in these spaces.”
186,297 people live within the watershed
Of the 186,297 people living within the Five Mile Creek watershed, 54 percent of them have access to a park or trail within a 10-minute walk of home, TPL said. By expanding park and trail access to impacted neighborhoods, the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt will directly improve health, education, and the environment, and help accelerate equitable development in southern Dallas, the organization said.
Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors and is a leader in equitable access to the outdoors. TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most.
The organization said that since 1972, it 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.
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