FAIRFIELD, Texas — Efforts to protect Fairfield Lake State Park are continuing in the state legislature after the park officially closed its gates at the end of February.
State Sen. Charles Schwertner (SD-5) filed Senate Bill 1656 on Monday to give the state the power of eminent domain to obtain the property and keep the park open.
"The permanent closure of Fairfield Lake State Park is a tremendous and heartbreaking loss for the many visitors who enjoy boating, horseback riding, and hiking in this beautiful space," Schwertner said in a press release.
The bill follows a similar one, House Bill 2332, which Rep. Angelia Orr (HD-13) filed in February.
Orr also started an online petition, asking residents to add their names to a list of people calling for the park's preservation.
A report by the Dallas Morning Star in February found that TPWD commissioner Arch "Beaver" Aplin rejected an offer by the site's new owner, Todd Interests, to buy most of the land for $60 million, with a portion remaining under Todd Interest's ownership.
TPWD told 25 News that the report did not reflect the entirety of the situation.
"Details of portions of a text message conversation between TPWD Chairman Arch Aplin, Todd Interests founder Shawn Todd and Vistra CEO Jim Burke, do not reflect the entirety of a complex and ongoing negotiation process to save Fairfield Lake State Park from development at the best possible deal on behalf of the state and taxpayers," the department said in a statement. "Texas Parks and Wildlife is resolutely committed to keeping this park publicly accessible in keeping with our mission to conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and provide recreation opportunities for the enjoyment of present and future generations."