DALLAS — The impending passing of Congress' omnibus spending bill will include $7.75 million in funding for the second phase of Southern Gateway Park, officials announced Friday.
The funding was included in the bill at the request of Dallas' Congressional delegation of Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Colin Allred and Marc Veasey.
“This is the first funding we have received for phase two of the park, and it represents a watershed moment for our project," Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer April Allen said in a statement. "As we draw nearer the finish line for funding phase one and look forward to funding and building phase two, we are incredibly grateful for the support of Congresswoman Johnson, Congressman Veasey and Congressman Allred, as well as Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and the many local partners who have supported us from the beginning.”
The five-acre bridge park, spanning I-35 between Ewing and Marsalis Avenues next to the Dallas Zoo, is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in 2024.
"I was pleased to support this additional $7.75 million in funding for the Southern Gateway Project," Rep. Johnson said in a statement. "This innovative infrastructure project is important for so many reasons. It reconnects a community long separated by the National Highway System to public transportation and other new amenities, while creating five acres of green space and new economic development opportunities for local residents."
Phase one infrastructure of the project has been fully funded and is near completion, with the foundation scheduled to break ground on the amenities next year.
"The Southern Gateway Park is more than just a park, it is about connecting communities back together, and I am so proud we were able to secure this funding to help move this project forward," Rep. Allred said in a statement. "Not only will this innovative new park be a great place for folks in Oak Cliff and across Dallas to gather, but it will spur economic growth and development in the region. I thank everyone involved for working together to secure this funding, and I look forward to seeing the project progress."
The park is intended to transform southern Dallas and serve as a key catalyst in closing the opportunity gap created when the highway was built in the '50s through Oak Cliff. It is expected to bring more than two million visitors annually, and generate more than $1 billion in the first five years after it opens. It will also provide community amenities like a stage and pavilion for concerts, a children's playground, an outdoor classroom space, a dedicated food truck area and more.
"I am proud to have voted on a bipartisan government package that included more than $7 million that I secured for the Southern Gateway project here in North Texas," Rep. Veasey said in a statement. "Southern Gateway Park will help ignite important environmental, economic and community revitalization throughout the historic Oak Cliff area."