Bill Lubbers hoisted granddaughter Mirelle Benita, 23 months, on his shoulder and watched Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett attempt to dedicate the renovated Casa Linda Park.

But the Union Pacific engines rumbled by just as Bartlett launched his “Dallas has decided to dust itself off and build a city for the next generation” speech, and soon all the kids were back where they belonged, testing the equipment on the new playground.

“When our children were this size, we used the park,” said Lubbers, who has lived in the Casa Linda Estates neighborhood since 1956.

“Our kids grew up and went to school here, and now our two daughters and their children live in the neighborhood.”

Casa Linda Estates is a neighborhood of 450 homes, notable for its dense stands of trees. But the park that Bill Lubbers’ kids played in needed repair, even after John Cochran and other residents began a fundraising campaign in 1985.

Their efforts had raised only $4,000 when the Skyline-White Rock Lions Club pledged matching $10,000 funds.

“We went door to door and asked for money,” Cochran says. The Casa Linda Shopping Center, Doctors Hospital and resident Marilyn Romes donated $500 each, and others gave generously as well.

Soon, the residents had their money. About $20,000 in playground equipment, sandboxes, picnic areas and park benches later, Casa Linda Park was completed.

Bartlett, County Judge Jim Jackson, City Councilman Glenn Box and other local officials helped plant the last of 60 photinia that screen the park from the railroad tracks.

“This is not just a playground, it’s an opportunity for young people to have a place to come home and have a sense of security,” Bartlett told the residents. “There will be generations of children who will remember your deeds today.”

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