A technical glitch (on my end, I guess -- sabotage?) kept me from listening in on Dallas Arboretum president and CEO Mary Brinegar's presentation to the council's Quality of Life Committee this morning. Shame too, as her chat this morning was City Hall's first real chance to hear all about the $58-million, seven-acre Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden coming to the Arboretum in, oh, about a year's time. Nevertheless: She'll return to the Park and Recreation Board Thursday morning, and you can find a summary of her presentation below.
But even better: Above is the nearly nine-minute-long animated sneak peek at the under-construction wonderland she premiered for council this morning above. I asked Paul Dyer, head of Park and Rec, for a copy; he was only too happy to oblige. It looks like a Disney production. Giant climbable ant sculptures. Edible gardens. Elevated walkways. A whole Honey, I Shrunk the Kids vibe. Waterfalls. Can't wait to screen it for my 8-year-old son.
Says Dyer, the Arboretum's already raised $42 million out of the $48 million it's committed to the project; the other $8 million comes from bond money, which, Dyer explains, has gone toward "the land and parking and for infrastructure." And it's the parking with which the city must now concern itself, given that the Arboretum expects its attendance to increase significantly once the Children's Garden opens. (And not only that, but per a 2008 parking study, which you'll also find below, it's expected that "visitors may lengthen their stay on the property after the Children's Garden initially opens.")
Even during plain ol' pretty days parking's tight, and "with that much growth it'll become unwieldy," says Dyer, who notes existing plans to park on both sides of Garland Road. "So we're looking at different solutions. One is parking garage, and one is looking at creating parking around Winfrey Point Point and making accessible not from Garland Road but a different way. But those are all conceptual at this point, and there's a long way to go, but we have to figure out a way."
Dyler says he expects to return to council with more info in, oh, five months, give or take.
"And we also want to show them how successful this partnership is," says Dyer. "It's one of our best. Their annual operating budget is $6 to $8 million, give or take, and we put in a 10th of that -- or less. It's an amazing partnership. And [Brinegar] was explaining to council this morning how this is going to be such a learning experience for the children. The whole time, all I thought was, 'I could learn a lot walking through this too.'"
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See for yourself.QOL_ChildrenGardenDevel_02271202.2008 Study With Consideration of Childrens Garden