Restoration with Purpose
Our Neighbors, Our City
In May of 2017 CitySquare acquired the historic Forest Theater. We began work to transform the abandoned structure to serve as a community asset that will drive change, economic development, and racial equity in the South Dallas/Fair Park community. While there have been several brief efforts to reopen and re-purpose the theater, it has remained closed since 2008. The Forest Theater, adjoining spaces, and new construction will cover over 45,000 square feet.
The Forest Theater was originally opened in 1949 as a one screen movie theater entertainment space for the upper middle-class neighborhood of South Dallas. After the construction of the interstate highway that 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. The Theater at its peak was a center for the community. With a capacity of over 1000 seats, the theater hosted live performances, as well as films, and was home to the Green Parrot jazz club. By the early 1970s however, the area began to deteriorate rapidly, and the theater was forced to close.
Reclaiming an Identity
Growing a Future
CitySquare exists to fight the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship. Fulfilling that mission requires community partners who are strong, knowledgeable and dedicated to ending poverty in our city. Since early 2017, CitySquare and Atlanta-based Purpose Built Communities have pursued ways in which they can partner to work toward community revitalization applying the Purpose Built Communities (PBC) model in South Dallas/Fair Park.
After many years of hard work, CitySquare was officially inducted as the newest member of the Purpose Built Communities network in October 2019. Serving as the community quarterback for the initiative, CitySquare 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 complex, and high quality mixed-income housing.