DALLAS -- Rangers fans have come to realize over the past 30 years that Eric Nadel is one of the top broadcasters in the game. Getting ready for his 34th season with the Rangers, Nadel was a finalist for the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence and was also recently named Texas Sportscaster of the Year for the seventh time in his career.

But Nadel, like most broadcasters, is a true renaissance man who has a variety of interests outside of baseball. Right now, much of that attention is being devoted to several civic-related projects in Dallas.

Nadel was recently named to the board of directors for the Dallas Parks Foundation. This organization was established to help raise funds and support for the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.

"I have lived in Dallas since 1976, and I would like to make more of a contribution to the city," Nadel said. "I don't think a city can be considered great if its park system is not outstanding."

Nadel first became involved with the Dallas Parks Department 12 years ago, when he led the drive to establish the first leash-free dog park in the city.

"My wife, Jeannie, and I had taken our dog, Mookie, on a car trip to Carmel, Calif., which was the most dog-friendly city in the country," Nadel said. "Along the way, we realized that there were leash-free dog parks in lots of towns and cities, not just in California. I couldn't imagine why we didn't have one in Dallas. Austin already had one.

"So I contacted the Park Department, found out that there was already a citizens group working on the dog park project, and I was able to help them with some of the politicking and funding needed to get the park established. I believe that park, at Mockingbird Point, continues to be among the most used parks in the city."

Working with the Park Department helped Nadel gain a better understanding of the city's needs. He is hoping that being a member of the foundation's board will help raise awareness in several areas. One pressing concern is the condition of the city's athletic fields.

"Simply put, we need more baseball fields both for children and adults, and those that we do have need renewed maintenance," Nadel said. "There are improvements needed on a lot of the fields, and a fund for regular maintenance needs to be established. And that being said, the same applies to soccer fields and other athletic facilities.

"As someone who spends a lot of time walking his dog, I am very interested in the hike and bike trails. But a big part of my role on the board, I think, will be to try and raise the level of awareness about the importance of supporting Dallas parks. Many of us make donations to nonprofits on a regular basis, but have never thought of donating to our own city.

"Maybe I can raise the consciousness of our citizens that there is a way to help make sure that our park system remains excellent. The proposed Dallas bond program currently includes no money for the Park Department. Money to maintain our parks and develop new projects will have to come in part from the private sector."

Dallas parks is not the only cause that Nadel has taken up this offseason.

"No more boards, but I am excited about a benefit concert that I am working on that will be at the Kessler Theater in May," Nadel said. "The fabulous Daphne Willis -- who I consider to be the American Adele -- is going to headline the show, with Ray Johnston opening. Ray is a terrific musician who is a former Dallas Mavericks player whose career was ended by leukemia.

"We should have the date and all the details on tickets ready to announce in late February. The net proceeds will be going to organizations who help those with mental and emotional needs, including but not limited to anxiety and depression."