Duncanville activists rally to save Ladd Property from development

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Duncanville agreed to protect a parcel of green space after hundreds of residents called on the city council to take action.

Council members voted unanimously on Monday to establish a reserve on the land, which activists call the Ladd property.

“It’s not a nature reserve yet – it’s not official and it’s not on paper,” Council member Jeremy Koontz said. The Dallas Morning News. “But I think it’s almost inevitable. It will be this committee that decides what seems best for the future of the earth. It has been delivered into the hands of citizens who have this goal in mind.

Conservation – seven people the city council will select and seven members of the Ladd Preservation Advocacy Group – will create a comprehensive plan for the property and how to fund and maintain it.

Former resident Bob Ladd donated the property to the city in 1998 for “the promotion or advancement of cultural, artistic, or educational purposes.” But because the official document also used the word “primarily”, the city had the option of developing up to 49% of the property.

Resident Mark Graham, who helped lead the campaign, said he and other activists were happy with the resolution, although he said he wished the city had acted sooner, returned the land to the advocacy group or decided on its own to recognize it as a preserve.

“It’s like they’re tired of hearing about it,” Graham said. “[Their decision] was as good as I could expect.”

1/11A section of Tenmile Creek on the Ladd property pictured in Duncanville, Texas on Monday, March 7, 2022.(Elias Valverde II / Personal photographer)

Many residents treasure the 42-acre site on West Danieldale Road and use it for jogging, picnicking, hiking and slow walks on the trail.

“It’s wildlife. It is beauty. It’s a gem as characterized by the City Manager here,” Mayor Barry Gordon said at the special meeting. “And not just for its physical beauty – but what it enables individuals to do for their mental capacity, enjoyment, etc.”

Dozens of residents spoke about the status of the area at a general council meeting on March 1. In the crowd, several held signs reading, “Save the Ladd property.”

Dallas-based environmental writer Amy Martin, whose book on Dallas-Fort Worth Natural Areas is slated for publication this year, said there is a lack of green space in Duncanville.

“Saving the Ladd property as a reserve would be a significant improvement,” she wrote in an email. “Southwest Dallas County has tremendous potential for nature tourism. Duncanville could be part of it with the Ladd property as a reserve.

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