The second of four parks planned for downtown Dallas opened Friday. West End Square is officially open to the public, offering a lush green space and several amenities in the West End historic district at 607 Corbin St., an area which once served as a parking lot.
The $6.25 million project spans 0.78 acres with gardens inspired by the Texas Blackland Prairies. The gardens contain a smart irrigation system with the ability to self-regulate by using a weather sensor.
Also in the garden space is a watering table, which operates in three different modes. On still days, the table serves as a reflecting pool, and on windy days, the watering table bubbles. On hot days, the table offers a cloud mist and potable water.
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important our parks are to our residents and what a difference these parks make,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson at the park's ribbon-cutting ceremony. “As we’ve had to practice social distancing, all of us have needed a safe way to continue to see one another and to be together. And parks do that for us. They give us that communal outdoor gathering space. They can help us escape. They help us breathe and relax. And they give us a glimpse of the world around us.”
On the outer portions of the park are large swinging benches, a game area with games such as ping-pong and foosball and an outdoor workroom with a 50-foot long work table containing power outlets. Public WiFi will also be available at West End Square.
The park will have an innovation arcade, host performances and display temporary art installations. The first of these installations is ANTIBODIES by Daniel Iregui, an interactive installation containing a motion sensor and a camera, putting the beholder in a grid with many patterns, designed to break the monotony of Zoom calls.
“It feels to me like West End Square is the right project for this city, at the right time,” said Johnson. “When we opened Pacific Plaza, I talked about how great cities need great parks ... We need parks now more than we ever have.”
Pacific Plaza, the first of the four-park project, opened between St. Paul and Harwood Street in October 2019. The next park, Carpenter Park, will open in 2022 near Deep Ellum. Harwood Park will open in 2023 near the Farmers Market.
In the meantime, West End Square is expected to fill a much needed niche in the area.
“You’re going to see this become a place where people are spending a lot of time,” said Amy Meadows, C.E.O. and president of Parks for Downtown Dallas. “Whether people are coming out to work in an outside meeting, or tourists coming over from the Omni. We’re already seeing families come down to this area, so I think it’s going to be a community gathering space for this entire district.”
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