Chase's $3 Mil Will Fund the Sidewalk. But The Park Still Needs $25 Mil For a Few Amenities.

Categories: News
Sam Merten
Contrary to how Sam (always) manages to capture the mayor, he was actually quite thrilled with today's gift.
So sorry. As you can clearly see below, naming rights for the Woodall Rodgers Deck Park won't be going to 7-Eleven or Ray Hunt or Southwest or American Airlines. Syd Nancy, though, was spot-on: Chase is spending $3 million for the crescent-moon-shaped, 15-foot-wide Promenade that will span the length of the 5.2-acre park to be built over "the abyss." That, however, is but one small piece of the price tag, with the city of Dallas (via $20 mil in bond funds), the Texas Department of Transportation (doling out $20 million in federal and state highway funds) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dough ($16.7 million) also in the pile. (Update: Linda Owen, president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, tells Unfair Park there's also $24.6 million in private money to date, with the largest donation thus far from the Caruth Foundation at $5 million; the Real Estate Council kicked in $1.5 million at the beginning to fund the feasibility study. Ray Hunt has donated $1 million, making him "a founder.")

Sam Merten
Chase Dallas Chair -- and Leppert's mayoral campaign co-chair -- Elaine Agather with the gift, which Dukes then tried to cash
And yet, said Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation Chairman Jody Grant, they still need $25 to $26 million more to cover park amenities and operating costs and for a contingency fund during the first two years of its existence. (The park is on schedule, he said, for a ribbon-cutting in "early 2012.") "Anything left over," Grant said, "will go into an endowment." Among the things paid for thus far: a performing pavilion courtesy John Muse and family, a dog park paid for by Container Store CEO Garrett Boone and the restaurant and its "grab-and-go." Still left on the shelf: that fountain-sculpture you saw in last week's video and the children's garden. Grant, who said "there's no such thing as a great city without a park" like The Park, is currently looking for takers.

As promised, the latest "virtual fly-through" from The Park peeps is forthcoming; we'll post shortly in a separate item. Suffice it to say, today's shindig was star-studded if you're a local politics wonk -- from Mayor Tom Leppert to most of the city council to DowntownDallas CEO John Crawford (who said, but of course, "This is another great day for downtown") to Arts District exec director Veletta Lill to architect Larry Good (and D's Wick Allison, my new next-seat buddy).

But, of course, the biggest guest was JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon -- or the man in charge of what John Muse called "a bright star in an otherwise dark sky."

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