City Hall

The Dallas Backyard Music Festival Sounds Neat. But It'll Need to Find a New Location.

After this, I'll let Pete handle whatever becomes of the Dallas Backyard Music Festival -- since, ya know, it's a music festival? But we begin on Unfair Park for a couple of reasons: It's on the Park and Rec board's agenda for its Thursday meeting, which is where I was introduced to the planned event, and it's scheduled to take place in Trammell Crow Park on the Trinity River, which my boy loves even if the cows there don't. Only, isn't Trammell Crow Park supposed to close down in a few months? Let's come back to that.

Says here the Park Board's going to "authorize an alcohol permit request for Volition Productions to serve alcohol at a festival and concert at Trammell Crow Park located at 3700 Sylvan Avenue on Saturday, June 2, 2012 and Sunday, June 3, 2012." The city hopes to make around $7,000 from that. Anyway. That sent me to The Google Machine to find out more about Volition Productions. A few short clicks later, and we discover that that the concert's really more of a concept at this point: Its Kickstarter page says organizers are $100 on their way to the $20,000 needed to put on the event, with just 57 hours left in fund-raising. And the June dates aren't set in stone: The website for the event, which was created last month, is taking votes, asking folks to choose between May 18-20 and June 1-3.

So. Lots of questions about the event, the biggest one being: Um, isn't the city about to close off access to Trammell Crow Park to make way for the Sylvan Avenue bridge redo? Because last I looked, Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan told the council's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee back in April that "to help minimize the construction duration and reduce costs, the committee previously voted to close Sylvan Avenue, Trammell Crow Park and the Sylvan Boat Ramp for the duration of construction."

So I called around City Hall today to see if maybe they'd changed that plan or perhaps pushed back construction on the Sylvan Avenue bridge. Far from it, turns out.


Chiamin Korngiebel, the program manager with Public Works overseeing the Sylvan bridge reconstruction, says the design's done andhas been sent to the state. The Texas Department of Transportation will oversee the construction that'll be performed by Webber, which, she says, was originally scheduled to begin in early October.

Alas, there were complications: As Jordan explained to the council earlier this spring, Oncor has a transmission line that runs parallel to landside toe of the East Levee, and it needs to be removed; that'll impact a Time Warner cable, which shares Oncor's pole. It'll take a month to move that. And all that needs to be given the once-over by the Corps of Engineers, since it takes place in or need the levees. (And this is why this item's on Unfair Park. So Schutzey!)

Korngiebel says between that and other to-do list items impacting the levees, construction's been delayed till February or March 2012, more than likely. And when it begins, Webber has 27 months to complete the project, per the contract. But, she says, there is a clause in the contract with the city that says they can't close Sylvan for more than 15 months. If there's a delay, she says, Webber will be fined $10,000 per day.

"At this point, the only thing I can tell you is construction will begin in February, March of next year, but there is no concrete construction time line sequence," she tells Unfair Park. "They will spend the remaning 12 months to do a foundation in the floodway or other aesthetic treatments, which will not impact construction."

I asked: So, then, a festival at Trammell Crow Park in late spring or early summer 2012 seems unlikely?

"The park department understands clearly we can't keep the park open," she says. "They asked if we can give them temporary access. Well, for that you need to go through the Corps, but it's not safe for people to go down between the levees. We told them that very clearly. I don't know why they'd take the risk. This is the first time I heard about a concert down there. But the time frame will hit right about there."