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Wait, Even the Trinity Project Model Isn't Done Yet? And It Took Two Years?

Sam Merten
Mayor Tom points to the two Trinity bridges, but does he know which is which?
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The big unveiling of the model for the Trinity River Corridor Project was held today at the Trinity Center, and, as expected, all the Trinity folks gathered to pay homage. A short press conference began the festivities, with Mary McDermott Cook, chair of the Trinity Trust, saying the model is a 3D version of what will be reality in “not too long a time.”

Cook also praised Mayor Tom Leppert for “wanting to beat the 2014 timeline” before giving way to City Manager Mary Suhm. Suhm noted that the Audubon Center and overlook will be opening next month and said the steel for the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is “on the way.”

Leppert gave special acknowledgment to Dave Neumann, chair of the council’s Trinity River Corridor Project, along with noting the presence of council members Jerry Allen and Sheffie Kadane. (Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Elba Garcia and council member Pauline Medrano arrived later.) Leppert described it as “an exciting time” and said the model “gives a sense of reality” to the project, which will be completed in a “relatively short number of years.”

Also speaking were Dr. Gail Thomas, president of the Trinity Trust, and Jeff Morris, president and CEO of ALON USA, which put up the $500,000 to pay for the model. Rebecca Dugger, director of the Trinity River Corridor Project, was not in attendance because of another speaking engagement, according to Judy Schmidt, communications and marketing manager for the project.

And then the blue curtain was pulled back, revealing the 20-foot model. Leppert stood behind downtown, flanked by Neumann and the model's designers, Charles and Susie Kendrick.

A reporter obviously not familiar with the project urged Leppert to point out the two bridges, hoping for a little information about what she was looking at. But Leppert offered little help, simply pointing in the general direction of the two bridges, seemingly unaware of which was which.

Thomas jumped in and identified both, along with giving the dimensions. When she said the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge would be as tall as the W Hotel, Leppert quickly pointed to the model of the W, as if to prove he at least knew where that was.

I was fairly unimpressed with the whole thing. For something that took almost two years to build (and isn’t even completed yet), I expected it to be bad-ass. But when I saw the Trinity Turnpike consisted of strips of paper, while the American Airlines Center had a working video screen, I wondered if enough time had been spent on the actual Trinity Project as opposed to everything surrounding it.

Judge for yourselves as we’ll have a slide show up and running shortly. --Sam Merten

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