The City Still Has to Find Someone to Build Woodall Rodgers Deck Park's Amenities

This week, city officials -- both the council and the Park and Rec board -- will be briefed on progress at the 5.2-acre Woodall Rodgers Deck park. But it's more than just an informational heads-up: Park and Rec still has to find someone to landscape the park and built out the myriad amenities, which is expected to cost around $21 million.

The so-called Future Park Improvements and Amenities Phase will be split amongst two revenue sources: $5 million comes from 2006 bond funds, while the rest will be covered by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation -- which, we learned two weeks ago, could still use about $26 million in private donations to pay for those very amenities, including the fountain and children's garden, not to mention operating and managing costs during the first two years of its existence, expected to run $2.2 million per year. (The city's contribution for the entirety of park construction is capped at $20 mil.)

Park spokesperson Joanna Singleton says Archer Western, under the supervision of the Texas Department of Transportation, is only building out the park's base, though there is "some landscaping" included in its contract. According to Singleton, the feds' $16.7 million in stimulus dough couldn't be spent on extras, only the bare necessities -- that's now how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act works. Hence the need for this week's Park and Rec board OK, which council will then sign off on in anticipation of awarding the contract by August in order to meet the mid-2012 done-by deadline.

By the way, the briefing answers a question several Friends have asked: The city owns the park, but the foundation will manage it (for 50 years with several 10-year renewal options) and has the option to sell naming rights for the park, proceeds from which will go toward its design, construction and operation. And if Dallas needs the park for a shindig of some kind, City Hall must choose wisely: "The City is entitled to three use days per year."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky