Plan for Woodall Rodgers deck park heralded


by By CHRIS DELL / The Dallas Morning News

Posted on September 15, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 5:49 PM

Construction is expected to begin next month on a 5.2-acre park that will span Woodall Rodgers Freeway and provide a pedestrian link between downtown Dallas and Uptown.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, was among dignitaries at Monday's groundbreaking ceremony.

On Monday, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation celebrated the deck park, which will stretch three blocks from Pearl to St. Paul streets.

"This is so much more than a park," Mayor Tom Leppert said during the celebration at the Parkside Condos near the freeway. "It's a place for all of us, a place where the people of the city of Dallas all come together."

The landscape near the freeway is dominated by skyscrapers towering above and traffic zipping below. The park would provide greenery in the middle of a concrete jungle.

With an estimated price tag of about $105 million, the park will include features such as a restaurant, performance pavilion and dog park. Millions of dollars in federal, state, city and private funds have been committed.

"Many people felt this couldn't be done - it's too complicated, too expensive and too much of a challenge for the city of Dallas. Today, we proved them wrong," said Jody Grant, park foundation chairman.

Grant said construction probably will begin in October. The $44.5 million building contract was awarded to Atlanta-based Archer Western.

Officials also worked Monday to allay fears of road delays caused by construction.

Bill Hale, a Dallas district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, said he hopes to restrict construction to the late evening and early morning. He said crews will work around entertainment events to ensure traffic headaches are kept to a minimum. The project is slated to finish in 2012.