City, Arboretum back off on Winfrey Point parking




Posted on May 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 9 at 6:16 PM

DALLAS — After a controversy that spread like a prairie wildfire, Dallas City Hall backed down Wednesday and decided there won't be any mowing — or parking — at Winfrey Point.

Residents living near the popular spot at White Rock Lake delivered thousands of signatures on petitions to the City Council demanding no overflow parking from the popular Dallas Arboretum at several grassy areas.

But the message had already been delivered.

City Hall decided that the grass is greener when on the other side of the hill. Politically, there's a way to satisfy — for now — a lot of angry citizens.

"There will not be any parking over there, and I appreciate the Arboretum for coming forward," said City Council member Sheffie Kadane, who represents the White Rock area.

After days of protest, a court case, and bad publicity, the Arboretum announced it wanted the city to avoid mowing grassy areas at Winfrey Point set aside for up to 400 temporary spots for overflow parking.

Then the city said Arboretum parking appears to be adequate for the latest exhibit, so temporary parking at Winfrey Point is no longer an option — for the time being.

"I don't know that I'd call it a victory," said Chris Herron, president of the Emerald Isle Neighborhood Association. "I'm certainly glad that they're backing off."

Herron, his neighbors who live between the Arboretum and Winfrey Point, and park supporters delivered some 8,000 signatures on petitions they gathered from people who oppose not only the temporary parking plan, but also permanent parking, such as concrete lots or a garage.

"We are concerned that the Dallas Parks Department is not protecting the people's resources," Herron told the Council.

The firestorm of protest left the city somewhat reeling and recognizing that there's still no long-term solution for the Arboretum and ongoing parking problems at White Rock Lake.

"There are so many options to look at at this point, we're not even close to coming to closure on that," Park and Recreation Department director Paul Dyer told Council members.

Where that hill of greener grass lies isn't certain yet.