It was a blustery November morning. Overcast skies, but a comfortable temperature, perfect for a morning run… or a 5K. As I approached the run site I was taken aback by the forest of well-matured trees. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, crisp cool air, I finally realized it was autumn in Dallas.  But was this Dallas? I had never seen this part of Dallas before….

I drove passed the softball fields bustling with people preparing to play.  To my right, I noticed a small bunch of newly planted trees. I parked and walked towards familiar faces. Registration was in the middle of a huge open area encircled by soaring trees. With my number pinned on my jacket, goodie bag in hand, I took a swig of water and joined the group for a pre-race stretch.  Jumping jacks, high knees, touch your toes!!!

Run/Chat/Walk with my good friend Candice Quarles, President of the Urban League Of Greater Dallas Young Professionals (ULGDYP)

Ready? Get on your Mark, Get Set, Go! As the walk began I stayed along the meandering trail, looking forward to its twists and turns. Over, under and literally through the woods, the trail was a perfect complement to my mid-morning conversation. As we updated each other on our life’s happenings, I was astonished (and winded) as I realized the beauty and distance of our trail. We walked over a bridge; there was a quaint neighborhood to our right. What an ideal place to live. But where was I? I never knew this was in Dallas….

Rounding the softball fields, the air became filled with the aroma of fresh soil and bark. The trees were well supported in the dark, rich, soil—I had never realized the greatness of a recently planted tree; it kind of gives you a warm fluffy feeling that something good is about to happen.

Whew! The balloon filled finished line was finally insight. What a delightful way to start my morning: exercise, good conversation and giving back to the community. Only 10 minutes from my downtown apartment, why hadn’t I tried this before?

Well, thank goodness for the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Central Texas Annual 5k Walk/Run that brought me out to Kiest Park. Yes, Kiest Park in Southern Dallas, that was the scenic space that helped to get my weekend off to a productive start.

Kiest Park is 248 acres. 248 vast, beautiful acres, and I’ve never had a picnic there?… SMH!

Now as the New Year is in full swing, including new fitness goals, I am really looking forward to my next go-round on the Kiest Park Trail (hopefully less winded). More importantly, I am looking forward to learning more about Southern Dallas with my comrades in the Mayor’s Star Council (MSC). As we seek to advance the initiatives of the Mayor’s Grow South Plan, I hope that I will have the opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people of the “quaint” neighborhood adjacent to the park, I hope I can be a tree planter, host a picnic or even watch a softball game. Just like the newly planted trees, there is only room for growth in Kiest Park and various areas of Southern Dallas…that opportunity for discovery and innovation gives me a warm fluffy feeling inside. Something good is about to happen in Southern Dallas!

MSC and ULGDYP Members

Like Kiest Park, 2014 will be ripe with new discovery, experiences and growth. I hope that we can all find ways to unearth all of the wonderful things that Southern Dallas has to offer. For me it started at Kiest Park…where will you begin?

Alexis Logan | MSC Class 2013-2014