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Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation announces $9 million in new donations to the deck park

by Steve Thompson

Backers of the planned Woodall Rodgers Deck Park announced more than $9 million worth of progress Thursday in fundraising for the park, which will one day link downtown Dallas to Uptown and mitigate the division created by the freeway that shares its name.

"We believe The Park will be transformational for our city," said a statement from Richard Fisher, whose family is among the new donors. "We are delighted with the opportunity to name the Pavilion for Nancy Fisher, a woman whose devotion to children is exemplary."

Fisher, who is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said the donation and others will help create "Dallas' premier recreational space."

The park is expected to cost more than $100 million, including amenities and the first few years' worth of maintenance and operating costs.

The city put up $20 million in bond funds. Another $20 million has come through the Texas Department of Transportation. And the park is getting $16.7 million in federal stimulus money.

On the private side, the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation originally committed to raise $20 million for amenities, but they surpassed that and have set a goal of $54 million. The recent donations announced Thursday put them about $17 million away from that goal.

The recent donations include more than $8.5 million from the Fisher family, Linda and Mitch Hart, Cindy and Bill Ward, Lyda Hill and two anonymous donors.

Other recent gifts totaling more than $850,000 have come from the Hillcrest Foundation, the Hoblitzelle Foundation, the Jackson-Warren family, the Dr. Bob & Jean Smith Foundation, Bobby Lyle, Linda Owen, Lauren and John Zogg and anonymous donors.

The 5.2-acre park will span over Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets. It is intended to better connect downtown with burgeoning neighborhoods to the north, and will include a performance pavilion, restaurant, walking trails, dog park and children's playground.

The park is expected to be complete in fall 2012. It will be privately managed and operated by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation.

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