The Dallas City Council gave unanimous support for a new deck park in Oak Cliff near the Dallas Zoo on Wednesday, while emphasizing the need for more financial support to complete the project.
The vote commits the city to $7.1 million in transportation development credits. The North Texas Council of Governments has committed $28 million in similar financing. That amount will pay for construction of half the deck connecting Ewing Avenue and Marsalis Ave.
The vote allows the Texas Department of Transportation to begin construction on the $650 million Southern Gateway project later this year.
It's a project Lester Houston feels is long overdue.
"We asked for a project that had better pedestrian connections and would minimize right of way and noise pollution," the Oak Cliff resident said. "There is a lot of enthusiasm in the neighborhood."
Houston grew up in the area between 35E and I-45, that was isolated from the rest of Dallas by the construction of both freeways.
"This deck park will provide the green space and access to a park we lost decades ago with the expansion of the zoo," Houston said.
District 13 council member Jennifer Staubach Gates pulled the approval of the project for a separate vote which allowed council to speak on the measure before voting.
Gates supported the proposal but expressed concern with the city moving ahead on the deck park without financing for completion in place.
“It's a leap of faith we’re taking with creating an infrastructure with a piece of cement and we don’t really have the rest of the 90-million dollars to build the deck park," Gates said.
Council member Dwaine Caraway told his colleagues he was confident the philanthropic community that helped pay for Klyde Warren Park in downtown will step up for this project as well.
"We will find this money and we will enjoin north, south east and west of Oak Cliff together as one,” Caraway said.