DALLAS - The expansion of Klyde Warren Park was discussed Thursday at Dallas City Hall.
The Dallas Parks and Recreation Board talked about adding a new parking garage with a bar and restaurant, sky deck, pedestrian bridges, ice skating rink and more to the popular downtown park.
The project would cost about $90 million dollars, but the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation would raise about $50 million to pay for it. The city of Dallas would have to come up with the remaining $40 million.
Supporters argue it would continue to add economic value to the area. A new study estimates the park has already added at least $1.5 billion to downtown.
“The park is an enormous economic development opportunity,” John Crawford, president and CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc. was quoted in the presentation. “Within a quarter-mile to a half-mile radius… we’ve seen well over $1 billion in new projects.”
The much-needed parking garage would be built on a new deck over Woodall Rodgers Freeway between St. Paul and Akard streets. An accompanying sky deck would hang over the freeway alongside Akard Street and serve as space for events.
The proposal would also add more play structures for children, a spray fountain on Pearl Street, an ice skating rink on Olive Street and pedestrian bridges to lead visitors the Arts District and the Perot Museum.
Some board members expressed concerns over the cost of the fancy additions at a time when other parks are in need of improvements.
Tyler Cook, has concerns about park expansion
“It's a big project, so you are going to essentially shut down parts of the city for weeks on end to get that built,” said Tyler Cook. “So yeah, it'll be a long haul but maybe worth it in the end.”
But Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Chair Jody Grant assured them the expansion would pay for itself in about 11 years.
“This project pays for itself over time, and there are few other projects that are revenue generating projects,” Grant explained. “So we think this project should get a fair hearing.”
“If they wanted to do an expansion four years into a project that's established, well might as well have that money already there versus trying to get the community's dollars,” said Celina Barajas, a Parks & Recreation board member. “Because that's what's going to be affected -- our neighborhood parks.”
City leaders still have to vote on the plan.