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The Park over Woodall Rodgers seeks $17 million more in private funding

by Sarah Blaskovich

DALLAS — On the 14th floor of the very high-security Hunt Oil building in downtown Dallas, we could see clearly how much progress had been made on The Park. The 5.2-acre park is being built over Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul and is designed to be a connector between Uptown, Downtown, and Victory Park in Dallas. It will be finished in fall 2012.

The Park still needs $17 million, all of which will come from private donors. Chairman of the board Jody Grant announced that $8.5 million was recently raised from local donors.

At least two of the donors' families will have elements of The Park named after them: The Nancy Fisher Pavilion, the park's main restaurant named for the family of Richard Fisher; and Hart Plazas and Promenade, named for Linda and Mitch Hart.

“When people see the park … and see how transformational it will be, it's going to completely change Dallas,” board member John Muse told Pegasus News.

Also in attendance is mayor-for-now Tom Leppert, who announced Wednesday that he has resigned and his last day in office is Friday. Milling around nearby was Shawn McCoy, a communications executive who will be working with Leppert, in so many words, on his Senate race. Leppert still hasn't formally announced he's running, but we can expect it “soon.”

Leppert said of The Park, “What once was the divider now becomes the magnet,” referring to green space's location between several parts of town.

To drive home the idea that this is a “park for the future,” as board member Ed Fjordbak explained it, five kids from Laureate Preparatory School in downtown Dallas were at the meeting and presented some of the donors with drawings of how they envision a park.

UPDATE: This morning I was mulling over the name "Deck Park," which we no longer use to describe what's now simply called The Park. What's in a name? Well, the project was called Deck Park because public funds pay for the actual deck part of the park. Now called The Park and supported largely by private funds, the board hopes to again re-name it if someone puts up enough cash.