December 29, 2016

Go Green

If you build a park, they will come.

Craving wide-open spaces doesn’t mean you need to head to the country. Instead, those in search of green space can find it within the city limits􏰎and even down the block, depending on your location.

The city of Dallas is rapidly growing their network of parks and open spaces, starting with Downtown. Gail Thomas, the president and CEO of the Trinity Trust, calls the current time the “Golden Age of Parks.”

The beginning of this renaissance can be pegged to Klyde Warren Park—the 5.2-acre deck park opened in 2012 and brought with it masses of people to fill the green space and dog park, play on the playground, dine at food trucks, enjoy free programming, and more.

And with it, the surrounding area began to grow and prosper. This can especially be seen at the Dallas Museum of Art— the non-profit coupled the opening of the park with a return to free general admission to the museum—and has seen a significant increase of pedestrian traffic.

Beyond the golden child, the city boasts a cache of equally compelling verdant experiences. From smaller, concrete-surrounded parks the size of a block to the Great Trinity Forest—a 6,000-acre park on the outskirts of urban South Dallas—green space is on the up.

Dustin Bullard, director of cityscape and urban design for Downtown Dallas Inc., is excited for the next generation of downtown parks. He says that Parks for Downtown Dallas (formerly The Belo Foundation) has pledged $35 million toward the construction of four parks over the next few years. The City of Dallas needs to match that money through a bond election in May 2017.

“We are thrilled at the idea of adding more green space Downtown and are grateful to Parks for Downtown Dallas for helping us make that a reality,” says Bullard. “As more families and residents move Downtown, it’s important to provide that green space which ultimately serves as our community’s backyard.”

But these parks aren’t just for play—each space adds to the culture and economic vitality of the community and will continue to do so for years to come. Investing in green space not only offers residents recreational opportunities, but also ups the quality of life and attracts businesses to the area.

Thomas and her Trinity River Trust are also raising money. In May of this past year, Mayor Mike Rawlings unveiled plans for the first phase of the 285-acre Trinity River Park, which will sit between the Margaret Hunt Hill and Margaret McDermott bridges. The park will be funded entirely by money from private donors, Thomas says, but will serve the public in a way Dallas has never seen.

And the teeming masses of people filling these spaces prove one thing—Dallasites are craving more.

Places to Park It

Main Street Garden
A block away from The Joule, Main Street Garden was the first major park to come out of the 2005 Downtown Parks Master Plan. The humble, 1.75- acre space houses a dog park, City Park Café, art installations, and is home to The Old ‘97s yearly County Fair concert. 1902 Main Street

Dallas Heritage Village
Take a throwback trip to Dallas Heritage Park, where historic buildings and e􏰌hibits re􏰂ect what life was like in the 19th century. With a petting zoo and frequent programming, you might even put down your phone and live like they did in the golden days. 1515 South Harwood Street

Ronald Kirk Bridge
Named after the city’s first black mayor, this pedestrian bridge connects Downtown to West Dallas. You can find everything from boot camp to bocce ball on the bridge, which sits atop the lush, 4.6-mile Trinity Skyline hike and bike trail. 101 Continental Avenue