According to Klyde Warren Park President Kit Sawers,
Now, more than ever, parks are being used by their communities. Not only has research consistently promoted the mental health benefits of outdoor spaces, it now also concludes that, during this global pandemic, outdoor activities are actually much safer than indoor ones.
Though Klyde Warren Park was unable to play an immediate role in the City of Dallas’ emergency response to COVID-19 (providing food, funding or medicine), we are certainly playing a role in its recovery. Demand for the space has been enormous, due to lack of activity in the community, the desire of families to be outside and an earned trust in our commitment to putting safety first. With the City of Dallas forced to cut $25 million from its own budget—and park and rec operations drastically reduced—Klyde Warren Park has been a refuge for those who no longer have access to free summer programming, want to cool off in clean water or just run barefoot on a mosquito-free mowed lawn.
Despite most of the Park’s programming being cancelled due to COVID-19, we have been offering several socially-distanced opportunities for the public, such as free fitness classes, movies, and, most recently, a Fireworks Salute to Healthcare Heroes, broadcast by CBS 11 to the wider community on July 4. The Park has also been a venue for dozens of peaceful demonstrations since late May, and our staff is actively participating in the city’s post-pandemic reopening strategy, working with other major venues and medical professionals to set policy throughout the region.
Klyde Warren Park is not funded by City of Dallas tax dollars. Money is raised each year by staff and board members to pay for security, cleaning, repairs and programming, saving the City money and simultaneously creating a huge economic boost for our region. Other revenue traditionally comes from events, sponsorships, third-party rentals and earned revenue, most of which have evaporated this year.
With the Park’s 2020 operating budget already cut by 30% and $100,000 of additional cleaning required to accommodate CDC guidelines, we are reaching out to those who love the Park to help us do what the community needs us to do right now. A donation of any size would help ensure the Park remains an outdoor haven where children and families – regardless of age, ethnicity or income level – can feel safe coming together during these difficult times.
* Graphic and photo provided by Klyde Warren Park