Park Board Thinks Asphalt-Crushing Plant Might Not Be Best Thing to Have Next to $38 Million Park

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For the past decade, the city has been inching forward with plans for the Elm Fork Soccer Complex, a $40 million, 160-acre collection of athletic fields at Stemmons Freeway and Walnut Hill Lane that's part of the non-tollway portion of the Trinity River Corridor Project. Last we checked, phase one was under construction and the city was looking for someone to run the thing.

Based on the renderings, the park looks like it will be a fabulous place to play soccer or, if you're like me, sit and ignore the soccer being played around you, but some with the city are raising concerns that the Elm Fork Soccer Complex will be considerably less fabulous if the City Council allows a rock-crushing plant to continue operating next door.

Weir Brothers, a local excavation company, established the plant in February 2006 on land directly across Spangler Road from the soccer complex. The City Council granted a one-year specific use permit, which was renewed several times. The operation, according to the June 27 City Council agenda, was supposed to be temporary, with a promise that the business would be relocated by the June 22, 2012, expiration of the SUP.

Instead, the company applied to extend the permit for 25 years. A five-year extension was endorsed by the City Plan Commission over the objections of the city's park department, which concluded that the "request does appear to have an adverse impact on the surrounding zoning and land uses."

The decision now rests with the City Council, but the city's Park and Recreation Board wanted to be extra sure council members knew the score. The board sent a letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings and council members asking them to deny the SUP request.

You can read the full letter below, but the gist of it is simple: It's stupid to spend millions building a top-of-the-line park, then invite a loud, obtrusive and decidedly non-parklike asphalt-crushing operation to set up shop next door. Plus, having large, rock-laden dump trucks hurtling past a place heavily used by families with small children doesn't seem like the best idea ever.

The item was set to go before the City Council last month but was pulled from the agenda. Next meeting is in August, when the issue will reemerge. I left a message with Weir Brothers yesterday afternoon. Will update if and when I hear back.

Park Board Letter

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