In August, 2023, The City of Dallas launched legal actions against the US Navy regarding environmental remediation at the shuttered Naval Air Station Dallas. The legal action serves to preserve The City's right to environmental remediation at the former air base in order to proceed with the master planned development Hensley Field, which The City hopes will be a "premier mixed-use community" upon completion.
The site was originally leased by the Navy from The City of Dallas in 1949 to operate Naval Air Station Dallas. Following the air base's closure, The City found the property contained 50 years worth of environmental contamination -- the same type of contamination found at many former US military installations. The timeline of Hensley Field is as follows:
- 1949 - US Navy leases Hensley Field from The City of Dallas
- 1999 - NAS Dallas closes down, The City is returned a contaminated property
- 2001 - The City of Dallas files a lawsuit against the US Navy for the environmental damage
- 2002 - A settlement agreement is reached. The Navy is obligated to complete environmental remediation by 2017
- 2023 - The City of Dallas launches legal action to preserve its right to remediation
While the remediation was not completed on time, officials believe there has been progress made. T.C. Broadnax, Dallas City Manager, spoke to the issue:
We appreciate all of the U.S. Navy’s efforts to remediate the site for the past 20 years. We are confident that we can reach an agreement on the final phase of the project that ensures Hensley Field can be safely developed into a premier community offering mixed income housing, recreation, commercial space, and more. We will continue these productive discussions with the U.S. Navy and remain focused on reaching a consensual agreement.
The 700 acre site is certainly worth fighting for. As Metroplex real estate values continue to climb, Hensley Field offers a vast expanse of untapped potential. A lack of suitable space for large-scale developments led to many greenfield developments being made in the suburbs, including out of Dallas' tax jurisdiction. As such, both The City and residents aching for new supply to ease housing costs have their incentives aligned to push for remediation to be completed as soon as possible.