Keist Park has 260 acres. It is divided into 2 parts by Kiest Blvd. The southern part of the park has about 79 acres. When the WPA did the development of this part of the park in the 1930s, this area was the site of multiple trails which were used for walking, bicycling and horseback riding. There were picnic areas, restrooms and two bridges over the deep creek that fed into Five Mile Creek. The main trail went from Hampton Road to Rugged Drive over those bridges.
In the 1960s, the southern part of Kiest Park was essentially abandoned except for the Tennis Center with its clubhouse and multiple courts. In 2009, Friends of Oak Cliff Parks became interested in the southern part of Kiest Park and visited it with members of the Park Department Maintenance team. Â large, untouched wildflower meadow was discovered in the center of the area. The wooded part was a dense thicket of privet and old growth trees.
A new program, "Loving My Community Improvement Grant" was announced in 2009 by the City of Dallas which would give grants to local non-profits to use to do projects that would benefit the community. FOCP decided to apply and received a grant of $ 10,000 to reopen the WPA Trail in the southern part of Keist Park. This project involved volunteers from several local neighborhood associations, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, Boy Scouts and other Oak Cliff non-profits. Â The main trail was cleared and two information kiosks were installed at the site. Â Jim Varnum, Master Naturalist and wildflower expert, visited the meadow during several seasons and identified 130 different plants. Â Boy Scouts from Troop 2012 developed 5 Eagle Scout projects in this part of Keist: Â several bird nesting box projects and barricades on both sides of the deep gulley to prevent accidents.
In 2014, because of the unique qualities of the forest and meadow, the Dallas Park Department was asked to rename the southern part of Kiest Park. The name was changed to Kiest Park Conservation Area to denote the importance of protecting this special area.
In 2016, FOCP applied for a grant from the " Mayor's Grow South Initiative" to open another trail, put benches and bilingual signage along the trail. Â FOCP was again awarded a $ 10,000 Grant to do this work. Â Work began on October 1 and will last 12 months. Volunteers from several schools and companies have been participating in this effort and great progress has been made so far.
2179 W Kiest Blvd, Dallas, TX 75224
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