Restoration toward Revitalization
Revitalizing a Neighborhood
Incubated at CitySquare, Forest Forward is working with our neighbors and other partners in the South Dallas community to revitalize the neighborhood. In May of 2017, CitySquare acquired the historic Forest Theater. Forest Forward has begun work to transform the abandoned structure to serve as a beacon for community wellness, access to arts education opportunities, economic development and racial equity in South Dallas/Fair Park. While there have been several efforts to reopen and repurpose the theater, it has been closed since 2008. The Forest Theater, adjacent spaces and new construction will encompass over 45,000 square feet.
The Forest Theater was originally opened in 1949 as a one-screen movie theater and entertainment space for the upper middle-class neighborhood of South Dallas. After the construction of two highways divided the community, the demographics of the neighborhood began to shift, and the theater was re-branded in 1956 to cater to the growing African American population. At its peak, the Forest Theater was an iconic center for the community. With a seating capacity of over 1000, the theater hosted live performances, as well as films, and was home to the Green Parrot jazz club. By the early 1970s, the area began to deteriorate rapidly, and the theater was forced to close.
Restoring an Identity
Building a Future
Forest Forward exists to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through community, friendship, and transformational neighborhood revitalization. Fulfilling that mission requires community partners who are strong, knowledgeable and dedicated to the South Dallas culture. Forest Forward will lead and coordinate efforts to transform an underserved neighborhood, bringing together the vital components necessary for holistic community revitalization: an effective cradle-to-college education pipeline, comprehensive community wellness, and high quality, mixed-income housing.