Texas Parks Officials Want To Save Fairfield Lake State Park By Purchasing Parks’ Land
Texas continues its fight to save precious parkland, including Fairfield Lake State Park in Fairfield, Texas. The state park that opened in 1976 was closed in February 2023 after the state failed to reach a deal to purchase the property from an energy company that had been leasing the land to Texas Parks and Wildlife at no charge. The property is currently locked in a deal with a private developer out of Dallas that has plans to turn the land into a luxury gated community with multi-million dollar homes and a golf course.
After the parks' closure in February, it reopened on March 14th for day use and it could come back into the control of the state and actually expand if a new deal can be struck between the state, the energy company, and the new developer. Thursday afternoon the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously voted Thursday to allow the department's executive director to 'take all necessary steps' to purchase 5000 acres in Freestone County, Texas. This land would include Fairfield Lake State Park.
Around 80,000 visitors visit the 2400-acre state park each year. Horseback riding, family reunions, paddling, fishing, camping, and hiking are the big attractions that draw so many people to the park in central Texas each year. Since the park reopened in March, more than 5700 visitors have supported the park and showed the state that people still enjoy this park.
After Texas Parks and Wildlife made it known of their intentions to save Fairfield Lake State Park via a press release, the Dallas Morning News received a statement from the new development company, Todd Investments, stating they still have plans to move forward with its plans to close on the contract to purchase the land, which was agreed upon over a year ago. Shawn Todd told the Dallas Morning News,
TWPD made an offer to purchase the contract for the land from the business. We responded timely, almost immediately and in good faith to that offer, which was a proposal that would have been an incredible win for the state of Texas and at a significant sacrifice to our family. Since we submitted that offer, the state has not responded to us. To that end, we’re moving forward with our transaction."
The state may continue to pursue legal action in order to save Fairfield Lake State Park.
This year Texas Parks And Wildlife celebrates 100 years of providing public parks for state residents to enjoy, and the closure of this park has become a major issue. The department has also revealed plans of opening up to five new state parks within the next 15 years.