City Hall

Trinity Trust's Plan for River Amenities Is a Vivid, Impossible Fever Dream

Say what you will about boring stuff like feasibility -- as surrealist art the latest renderings of potential park-like amenities between the Trinity River levees are pretty damn amazing.

Tragically, the solar-powered water taxis we've all grown to love from earlier sales pitches for the Trinity project are gone, but the latest conceptual images for the lakes near downtown include jugglers, zip lines and a water "spray park." Presumably, the water for the spray park -- like the water for the lakes -- wouldn't come from the river itself because, you know, disease. But in any case, the renderings Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan and the Trinity trust showed a City Council committee on Monday were incredible. By that we mean not credible.

At least that's how some City Council member saw it.

"We've been sold on a lot of watercolors," City Council member Scott Griggs said in response to a presentation made by Jordan and Gail Thomas from the trust. "I understand the drawings are conceptual, but these are almost too conceptual."

The plans downplay the proposed Trinity toll road, Griggs said, and feature multiple trees despite the City Council being told repeatedly by Jordan and the Army Corps of Engineers that trees could not be planted in the flood way.

"I think it's great to be aspirational, but like [Griggs] I was dismayed by some of the drawings," Councilmember Sandy Greyson told Jordan while describing the renderings of the "so-called parkway" as "misleading."

Jordan countered that the concepts were "dreams" of what the area could look like if it received the proper funding. That's right, we're all still dreaming of the tollway.

Sheffie Kadane certainly is. He called the renderings fantastic.

"The road's not going to hurt [the plan for the Trinity] at all. It will help it. It's an asset," is a thing Kadane actually said.

After Philip Kingston piled on a bit more for the anti-toll road faction, Vonciel Jones Hill, chair of the Trinity and Transportation Committee hearing the presentation, admonished him.

"You're concentrating on the parkway and this presentation is about the lakes," she said. "I continue to hear some of my fellow council members say they will field a slate of candidates to stop the parkway."

Now, according to Hill, is not the time for that. Regardless of how people feel, the project has been voted for. Everyone needs to get in line.

"The discussion now is how do we make it happen," she said.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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