When the city released its master plan for downtown parks in 2004, the vision was to create "a series of signature parks within downtown that add identity and economic vibrancy to the heart of the city."
That's starting to happen, as anyone who's spent time in Main Street Garden or Klyde Warren Park or Belo Garden can attest, but large chunks of downtown remain forbidding oceans of concrete far removed from the idyllic greenery over Woodall Rodgers and, with more and more people living and working downtown, more parks are needed.
And so, a bit more than a year ago, Dallas began working to update to its long-term plan for Dallas parks
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The update is now complete and will be presented on Thursday to the Park & Recreation Board.
Mike Hellman, manager of park planning and acquisition for the city, said a consultant is putting on the final touches and that the plan itself won't be ready until Thursday. But the new plan examines the success of the current downtown parks and establishes a vision for new ones in light of the various things -- the Omni hotel, a large and trendy Arts District, residents -- that downtown has acquired in the past nine years.
Among the priorities outlined in the new plan is the consolidation of the patchwork Carpenter Plaza, which links downtown and Deep Ellum, into a single parcel of green space, developing tracts around the Farmer's Market, and some parkland in the West End. The city, Hellman says, is in the midst of acquiring West End Plaza for the purpose.
Also to be addressed is a revised vision for Pacific Garden, the fourth major park envisioned by the 2004 plan. The city bought the land but a lack of funding prevented it from being turned into a park as quickly as would have been liked.