Now That Dallas' Levees Are Safe, the City Wants to Hurry Up and Build the Trinity Lakes

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Reading the descriptions of the three lakes included in 2003's master plan for the Trinity River Corridor is a bit like browsing through a travel brochure. The lakes will help with flood control, create wetlands to restore a more natural habitat, provide ample opportunities for canoeing, be adorned with a water feature, and generally be a big wet jewel in the city's crown.

The lakes were supposed to be all done by 2014, but that vision took a hit in 2009 when the levees were found to be unsafe and again the next year when the Council voted to move some $4.75 million earmarked for the lakes to repair said levees. But now that they are officially super duper safe, it's time to stop worrying about how we're going to avoid drowning in it and start wondering when we'll get to entertain ourselves with it.

The City Council will get a refresher on the project on Wednesday. The Urban Lake will cover 90 acres near the Continental and Margaret McDermott Bridges and be flanked by an Urban Promenade. The 56-acre Natural Lake will be near I-35 and have a more, um, natural setting. And the West Dallas Lake will cover 128 acres near Westmoreland and have a sprint rowing course.

On the current timeline, construction won't start until 2017. That's too far off for city staff, which is seeking to have portions of the Urban and West Dallas lakes filled and open to visitors by 2016.

Doing that will take an estimated $41.2 million cobbled together from 1998 and 2006 bond money and future wastewater funds. It will also take a lot more planning. The city needs to figure out where all that water's going to come from, for one. It's up to the City Council to decide whether to move forward. If they give the green light, design could begin by the end of the year.

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