Angela Hunt has mixed feelings about the June 9 gathering of the city council to sign their names inside the center arch of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
"I think it's nice to have great iconic structures in our city, but, at the same time, if we're going to have something iconic, it seems to me our money is better spent on a park that's iconic and badass than a bridge," she says.
Hunt, who inked the bridge and then wrote the name and birthday of her daughter, Audrey Belle, underneath it, says the bridge is part a desire among some folks in Dallas to create a world-class city and a "postcard for nonresidents" instead of establishing a livable, attractive city for its residents.
"It would be so much nicer if we could have moved forward on the park three years ago and if we could be celebrating the opening of a massive, robust trail system in the floodway," she tells Unfair Park. "That, to me, would have been much more exciting."
The bridge could be symbolic of the city's lack of progress with building the parks and lakes approved by voters in 1998, Hunt says, but the bridge isn't the issue. It's Mayor Tom Leppert and others clinging to the "fantasy" that the Trinity River toll road will still be built.
"It's the leadership and lack of vision and lack of courage that's the problem," she says. "That, to me, is emblematic of the whole failure of ours to have a park at this point. It's just a lack of leadership and courage to move on from a bad idea."
So does she expect the park to be completed by the time her daughter grows up?
"I'm hopeful I can one day take my grandchildren to the groundbreaking of the park," she says, adding, "I'm being terribly sarcastic."
We also asked her about a possible upcoming bond program to pay for the levee repairs, which have been estimated by the city to cost $150 million. However, we've heard estimates north of $1 billion.
Hunt says she won't support any bond program until she's satisfied that all available resources have been tapped, including the remaining bond money for the toll road, which could be approximately $45 million. Any reluctance to spend the funds because it has been allocated for transportation is "absolute bull," she says, claiming that the city can spend the bond money on flood control because it was included in the language of the '98 proposition to voters.
She also stresses that it would be a mistake to take funding from any previously approved bond money for flood control issues, as City Manager Mary Suhm has done in the past.
"That's the wrong way to go about this," she says. "You're robbin' Peter to pay Paul."