The first draft of Dallas' surprisingly controversial southern Dallas deck park is out. Phase one of the proposed $118 million park build-out looks an awful lot like its cousin, Klyde Warren Park.
Spanning I-35 between Ewing and Marsalis Avenues, the park — assuming it gets funded — will initially feature an event lawn, performance stage and dog park. Just like Klyde Warren, it will also feature an area in which board games can be played and a snack shack or restaurant. Phase two of the park is where things would get a little more interesting. The giant giraffe statue that marks the Dallas Zoo from I-35 would be incorporated into the western edge of the park. Directly south of the giraffe would be what's called a skate and recreation are in the plans of the park. In renderings, it's depicted as a full-on skateboarding bowl. So far, the city has $40 million earmarked from the Regional Transportation Council to help pay for the park. The rest of the park is unfunded and the project is deeply unpopular with at least one current and former southern Dallas council representative. Carolyn Arnold, whose Dallas City Council District 4 is partially adjacent to the proposed park, has called the decision to build the park "dictatorial" and questioned the appropriateness of trying to come with $78 million to build it when southern Dallas has so many other needs.
Carolyn Davis, who used to represent District 7, had to be hauled out of the city council meeting by security after the council voted 9-6 to fund and build the park in June.
"Y'all sold out our community," Davis yelled on her way out of the council chambers.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in June that moving forward with plans for the park, as the city council transportation committee will do Monday, is important whether the money is available right now or not.
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"I am an advocate of enabling the art of the possible here and working through this process with RTC and respecting the will of transportation committee,” he said. "I’ve had a lot of people in the neighborhood tell me how important this is. We need to keep our options open and keep moving this ahead."