Elaborate parking proposal stuns Dallas Arboretum neighbors

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:43 AM

Updated Thursday, May 3 at 2:49 AM

Poll:
Should the Dallas Arboretum use the Blackland Prairie for a parking lot?

DALLAS — What sparked a bit of furor Tuesday turned into a major firestorm Wednesday.

People who live near White Rock Lake discovered that a temporary plan to park cars on a field of wildflowers was much more than temporary.

The city funded a study that led to a proposal to pave over brand-new Little League ball fields and acres of wildflowers to relieve parking problems at the Dallas Arboretum.

On one diamond Wednesday night, it was Yankees versus Rangers. On the other it was Mets versus Diamondbacks. And the rivalries on the fields were nothing compared to the showdown over them.

"I think it's disgusting," said Ted Barker, a long time White Rock resident. "It's stupid."

The City of Dallas spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building the fields, which opened in the fall of 2010. Little League donated another $50,000 for the construction.

But now, the facility at Winfrey Point could be paved over in favor of a two-story parking garage with more than 1,400 parking places and a tram to move people to the Arboretum.

Chris Herron is the president of the Emerald Isle Neighborhood Association. This plan would change the landscape of his neighborhood, and he never knew it was coming.

"We just found out about it yesterday through an open records request," he said. "And we just had a meeting with some of the players a week-and-a-half ago, and they never mentioned it."

Herron concedes that the Arboretum is in need of more parking, but he does not believe White Rock Lake is the right option. His anger is falling on deaf ears, though.

"I don't care what we have to do, but we're gong to have parking at that Arboretum at White Rock Lake," said Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway.

Barker is stunned.

"I'm really disappointed in the City of Dallas and its stance," he said. "I'll stand in front of the tractor to keep this from happening."

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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