Dallas could redevelop abandoned naval air base
Dallas city leaders want to see a 738-acre former naval base developed into a housing community with retail facilities, parks and office buildings.
Why it matters: Hensley Field is an oft-forgotten part of southwest Dallas — bounded by Grand Prairie and a lake used as a cooling reservoir for a power plant.
- A development there could add up to 7,000 housing units.
Driving the news: Dallas' planning commission was briefed on potential design concepts this week, and city staff have requested that developers add low-income housing to the proposal to meet new racial equity goals.
State of play: Hensley Field has been a catch-all for Dallas' big (and small) ideas for years, without a clear strategy for its use until a master plan was drafted this spring.
- Some city leaders suggested the area could be used to house people experiencing homelessness.
- It's become a de facto storage unit for the city, collecting old cop cars and once even a Confederate monument. And, the dog of a nurse diagnosed with Ebola was quarantined there (though Time referred to the Naval base as being in Grand Prairie).
Flashback: The Navy used the airfield from 1949 to 1998.
- The base was used for combat support in 1991 for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
Details: The master plan says the redevelopment could house as many as 12,000 people, link them to public transit and offer 185 acres of park space and 7.5 miles of trails.
- The plan also calls for a 40-acre mixed-use development that would capture rainwater and clean and reuse wastewater.
But, but, but: Redeveloping the land to spur economic development in southern Dallas won't be possible until the Navy cleans up the land, which is contaminated with, among other things, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
- The Navy is expected to complete a study by the end of 2023 on how it plans to remove the toxic waste.
The bottom line: The development might not actually happen, but Dallas loves a master plan — many of which get shelved for decades and pulled out occasionally for a task force to discuss.
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