DALLAS — Rob Walters is a member of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Board. He says since Klyde Warren Park was completed in 2012, it has spurred more than $1 billion in nearby development and drawn a crowd of visitors that far exceeded anyone’s expectations.
Still, from day one, there was unfinished business.
“We had in mind something a little larger and a little grander," Walters said.
Years ago, the team creating the park just ran out of money. This week though, the city will begin considering a request for new funding to complete the vision.
“It’s a rare opportunity to make something really good great," Walters said.
Enjoying the park with his family, Mohammad Eid told us he’d like to see Klyde Warren evolve.
“I really like it," he said.I think if there is an idea to expand I am all for it.”
But the urban green space is bordered by buildings, streets, and a freeway. So park visitor Michelle Landry supported expansion but was also perplexed by the idea.
“It would be great, but how?” she said.
The park deck, built over the Woodall Rogers Freeway, would be stretched out on both ends. That would create a dining and sitting space, a new water feature, new turf, and space for a large ice rink and larger playground.
The plan also includes a multi-level event space and some additional parking. Another prominent feature: Artsy pedestrian walkways would extend out from the park to the Dallas Arts District on one end and the Perot Museum on the other, connecting the park to the attractions around it.
We caught up with Todd Petersen as he threw the Frisbee on the Klyde Warren greens Tuesday with his 5-year-old son, Travis. Petersen saids the park offers an ideal place for family time, not far from where he works downtown.
“It’s a great skyline," he said. "There’s tons to do now down here.”
The Dallas Parks and Recreation Board will meet August 18 to consider the expansion proposal that would call for a public-private partnership. The city would be asked to contribute $40 million.
Walters pointed out that the city’s initial investment has been more than offset by all the development generated around the park and the booming property tax revenues surrounding the unique urban oasis.
The Parks and Recreation Board will also consider projections that show the improvements would draw more than a million additional visitors to the park each year and would generate $18 million in new tax revenues. Considering that math, the city’s latest investment would essentially pay for itself within a little more than two years.
Even if the public and private money comes through, there's still another catch: Petersen’s 5-year-old Frisbee partner would be at least 8 years old by the time the project is done, likely sometime in 2019.
Still, he says, “I think it’s fantastic."
To see the renderings of the proposed expansion, click here.