An artist rendering of Buckner Park. (Courtesy of the City of Dallas.)

Click to view a larger. An artist rendering of Buckner Park. (Courtesy of the City of Dallas.)

The new Buckner Park could reopen this year

It took about 10 years and $2 million, but Old East Dallas neighbors will get the park they want.

When Buckner Park reopens this winter, it will resemble an early city planner’s original vision from 1914.

Work is underway at the park, adjacent to Ignacio Zaragosa Elementary School on

Worth Street at Carroll Avenue, and could be finished by December. Renovations to the 7.5-acre park include a new playground, a circular walking path, an improved tennis court, a picnic pavilion, new trees, a sign and lights made to look like they’re as old as the park. The renovation also adds a pick-up and drop-off lane for the school along with 44 parking spaces; Dallas ISD paid for that portion.

The park, constructed in 1917, has been married to Zaragosa since about 1951. David Crockett Elementary School was across Carroll from the park. And when it closed, DISD traded the Dallas Park and Recreation Department the old school building for 1.8 acres of Buckner Park.

The school never had its own parking lot, and parents drop off students on two-lane Worth Street.

“It’s going to be safer for students at Zaragosa,” says Elizabeth Nelson of the Friends of Buckner Park.

Buckner and Garrett Park on Munger Boulevard at Garrett Avenue were built around the same time and are the oldest in Old East Dallas.

Buckner was built for $68,153.40 out of a $500,000 city bond. It had a playground and ornamental lighting, and in 1920, a wading pool was added. It closed in 1997. In the mid-1920s, there were free outdoor movies on the lawn.

Peak’s Suburban Addition neighbors began plotting for renovations to Buckner more than 10 years ago, and they raised the money for a conceptual plan.

When City Councilman Adam Medrano asked neighbor Jesse Moreno to serve on the park board, he agreed on the condition that Medrano would help him complete the park renovations, which were funded in the 2006 bond election.

“It’s a park that has been long overdue, and Old East Dallas doesn’t really have another community park,” Moreno says. “Munger Place is a great park, but it’s really a playground and there’s not really a park for the historic neighborhoods.”