Yesterday the Dallas Park Board approved plans for a new rowing club boathouse on White Rock Lake. It's going to be right in the way of my yacht when I'm trying to get in and out of there, and I'm worried about spilling my Champagne.
We've talked about this before. The former Highland Park Rowing Club, now rechristened "Dallas United," is going to build a big floating clubhouse at the north end of White Rock Lake. The project took a bad turn early on when city park officials tried to slip the whole thing past the public the same way they did with the idea of turning a green space on the shore of the lake into a parking lot for the Dallas Arboretum.
Apparently the rowing club was able to avail itself of some smarter public relations strategy than the Arboretum got: It held a pretty good community meeting last August that laid to rest some of the worst fears of groups and individuals devoted to protecting the lake from over-development.
The takeaway from the rowing club meeting was that the city's own park department had secretly encouraged the rowing club to turn its boathouse into a nightclub so the city could skim some nice rents off it. The rowing club didn't want to be a nightclub, and it was only too happy to ditch that idea and pull its plans back down to more modest dimensions.
But don't get the idea the protectors of White Rock Lake have been lulled into a Sleeping Beauty slumber over this thing. Lake defenders Hal and Ted Barker, who were the first to discover the rowing club's boathouse plans some months ago, just sent out a broadcast email showing examples of what the clubhouse may look like when it's built, which they described as "a bunch of tall dick-like things that stick out of the muck."
They do not answer the question: But is that a good thing?
The Barkers have raised a number of potential areas of concern with the plans including the possibility of dredging and drilling in a sensitive area of the lake. They have made it plain that they will be watching this entire process closely.
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Oh, the yacht. Yes, in the spirit of full disclosure, I informed readers at one point that I belong to a boat club right next to the future site of the proposed rowing club. As far as I know, the boat club I belong to, White Rock Boat Club, supports the rowing club's plans. I have not been been consulted on these matters, because I am not consulted on any matters.
Some commenters have suggested my ownership of a 30-year-old 14-foot boat makes me a plutocrat -- an accusation with which I have never dealt before. But I like it. Really. I like the feel.
And so, yes, I would encourage you to think of me wearing a little white captain's hat with a back bill and gold braid on the front, sitting on the poop deck sipping Champagne while my crew takes me out for a sail. I imagine myself with a bullhorn shouting at all of the damned kayakers and stand-up paddle-boarders: "Get your 47-percent asses out of my way right now!"
Isn't that how it's done? I am unfamiliar but eager to learn. Call me Pluto-Jim.