DALLAS — People who love White Rock Lake so much they live nearby say its calm, tranquil waters belie the fact that they are locked in constant battle with developers.
"We’re always winning the battle... they just don’t know it," said Ted Barker, one of many neighborhood activists who fought the Dallas Arboretum's proposal to build a parking lot at Winfrey Point.
"This is over 100 years old, and we like it pretty much the way it is," he said.
Private developers are eyeing the north end of the lake, called Boy Scout Hill. They want to build a restaurant. Barker says parks and commercialization don't — and shouldn't — mix.
"There’s always the urge to develop. That’s the way Dallas is built," he said. "And the people who like parks are always pushing back, because park land is so hard to come by."
Barker said neighborhoods compromised on the size and scope of the Arboretum's new parking garage, but they fear it may be a glimpse of what's to come.
Construction hit a milestone Wednesday with the completion of an underground tunnel linking the garage to Garland Road.
"There are studies done that have shown we increase property values," said John Armstrong, vice president of property development for the Dallas Arboretum. "And certainly I think we are nothing but a wonderful draw to this side of the city."
Barker said neighbors won't compromise on the restaurant issue.
"We will always continue to push as far as the citizens go here," he said. "Once it gets a lot of pressure on people — like the developers — they will back off."
Barker said he will keep fighting each tiny battle to preserve park land until the war is won.