So, back to those Trinity Beacons for a second. We went to this afternoon's meeting of the Trinity River Corridor Project committee convinced the council would bite on the 120-foot-tall light towers, which would cost $3 million in '98 bond money earmarked for the so-called Loop 12 Gateway. But we found few takers.
"I hate to say this, but I'm not wild about the beacons," said Linda Koop, who laughed at the proposal, known as Package 1 in the briefing docs. "I'd rather spend my money on someplace else."
That someplace else is the Trinity River Audubon Center, another proposed place in which to plant the public's green. Because as anybody who's attempted a left from Loop 12 on to the narrow entrance road at Longacre can attest, that is one dangerous turn.
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If the city goes with the Audubon Center (or Package 2), it would use the $3 million to buy up neighboring properties; build a landscaped median and an exit road; and provide a traffic signal at Longacre and Loop 12. Also included: a monument sign (as opposed to, say, a 120-foot beacon) at the entrance into the Trinity Forest along Loop 12 and additional signage on street light posts to help drivers navigate other Trinity Forest amenities in the region.
Carolyn Davis and Delia Jasso also firmly supported the Audubon Center enhancements over the beacon project. Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, on the other hand, appeared to be intrigued by the proposal.
Park and Rec assistant director Willis Winters made the presentation -- "These are the four options that we're just suggesting this morning and would like for you to consider" -- after which Caraway asked Winters to "tell me more about the beacon. How does it compare to the giraffe?" Caraway was referring to the statue in front of the Dallas Zoo. Winters explained that the giraffe was only 62 feet tall, so the beacons would be twice as high.
At the end of the meeting, chairman Dave Neumann said, "Sounds like the general consensus is [packages] two and one. ... My encouragement is some kind of combination of one and two."