County transfers 20 acres to Joyland

Published 10:12 pm Monday, October 28, 2013

A group of Dallas County residents are finally getting their land back.

The Dallas County Commission presented Joyland Incorporated with a deed to a 20-acre tract of land near Marion Junction during its meeting Monday. The Commission sold Joyland the property for $1.

With the transfer, Joyland owns nearly 100 acres of land on U.S. Highway 80.

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The land was previously the home of the Colored 4H organization, but in June of 1980 Dallas County purchased the land, intending to turn it into a park.

Originally, the property only included a basketball goal, shed and swimming hall, Joyland President Ronald Peoples said.

District 3 Commissioner Curtis Williams, whose district includes the Joyland property, said the county bought the land and purchased equipment shortly after the purchase, but some of the equipment got vandalized and stolen.

“We used it for several years, but we ended up not being able to use it as we originally planned,” Williams said. “It took a long time to get it transferred back. We ran into some red tape and had to get permission from the Department of the Interior, but I’m glad it finally got done.”

Several members of the Joyland organization were present at the meeting and thanked commissioners for their help in returning the property.

Peoples said the organization plans to turn the 100 acres into a recreation area for residents of Marion Junction and nearby areas. Joyland hasn’t officially received its 501c3 permit but is already making plans.

“The first step is to improve the actual physical ground, like trees and roads,” Peoples said. “We also plan to increase security at Joyland.”

He added many rural residents don’t have the same recreational opportunities as those living in urban environments.

“Many times people who live in rural areas are left out,” he said. “Unless you have transportation that you can take to a more urban area, there really isn’t anything.”