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Leaders of Dallas' new bridge park clarify Mayor Pro Tem’s assessment after Sunday interview

"Not one major donor has backed out of the project. In fact, we are set to announce an additional $3M in new funding secured since January 1," park leaders said.

DALLAS — The president of Southern Gateway Park, the city’s newest public-private bridge park which will stretch across the top of Interstate 35E in Oak Cliff, said the project is financially sound and set to open on time, clarifying a statement made by Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold over the weekend.

On Sunday’s Inside Texas Politics, Mayor Pro Tem Arnold said the park required more money to complete construction.

“We probably need an additional $20 million,” Arnold said on Sunday’s Inside Texas Politics.

But leaders of Southern Gateway Park said the $20 million she referenced is for a future extension of the bridge park, not to pay for the one currently under construction.

“She is referencing Phase 2 of the park. We are on track to open Phase 1 next year,” wrote April Allen, president and chief operating officer at Southern Gateway Park, in a Tweet on Sunday.

The Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation, the nonprofit responsible for development, construction and future management of the bridge park said it is seeking $20 million from Dallas’ next bond election to extend the bridge park south to Marsalis Avenue. That future extension, known as phase 2, is not scheduled to begin construction for another three to five years.

The $20 million in city bond funds needed for the second phase of the park would match a federal grant that the North Central Texas Council of Governments is seeking for it.

But the first phase of the park, which will be 2.8-acres, is more than 85-percent funded and remains on schedule to open early next year, a spokesperson said.

“We are on track to break ground on the park’s amenities later this spring and open as scheduled in 2024,” the spokesperson added. “Not one major donor has backed out of the project to date. In fact, we are set to announce an additional $3 million in new funding secured just since January 1.”

In November 2021, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved a development agreement for a bridge park in Oak Cliff. It’s supposed to be similar to Klyde Warren Park which sits over the Woodall Rogers Freeway in downtown.

Local leaders and developers touted this second bridge park as a way to reunite Oak Cliff after Interstate 35E split the community in the 1960s. 

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