Dallas County is Rushing to Finish $600,000 Founders Plaza Redo Before JFK Anniversary

In the lead-up to November 22, the city's focus has been on Dealey Plaza and how to get it ready -- and keep it clear of conspiracy types -- for the official commemoration of JFK's death there 50 years ago. But its neighbor one block to the east, Founders Plaza, is primed for a facelift as well.

The Dallas County Commissioners Court on Tuesday will consider a proposal for a $600,000 renovation of the plaza, with hopes of getting it done by November.

"But that's a perfectly good expanse of concrete and gravel," you might be saying. "Why change?"

Mainly because the county has come to the conclusion that a sea of unshaded concrete is not terribly inviting. It actually came to that conclusion a dozen years ago when plans for renovations were first hatched. Now, with JFK's anniversary fast approaching, they finally have the incentive to get things done.

According to county briefing docs, the plan is to "soften" the plaza by replacing the gravel with vegetation, building a tree-ringed planting area on the plaza's eastern edge, and putting a circular expanse of artificial turf on the west. The fountains -- which were apparently built to resemble the Trinity River and its branches -- will be lined with more artificial turf meant to be reminiscent of a river bank.

All of this will require minimal maintenance and watering, though the main reason the county plans to go with turf is to avoid impacts on the underground parking garage. But hey, the county reasons, the Klyde Warren Park looks pretty good with synthetic turf.

"Moreover, should it become 'worn' in appearance, it could actually enhance the 'river bank' effect that is desired," the briefing says.

Right now, $186,250 is available for the project from unused funds from the 2012 capital budget. The rest county staff hopes can come from the general fund, which commissioners will have to approve.

The project, the county predicts, "will substantially improve the plaza's appearance and enable it to finally become the gathering place that was envisioned."

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