Adding Carpenter Plaza Park to Cause a Redo of the City's Downtown Parks Master Plan

OriginalGatewayPark.JPG
From the Downtown Parks Master Plan
Just seven years ago, Carpenter Plaza Park was supposed to be part of a larger gateway to the Arts District.
We've known for a long while now that the upcoming expansion of expansion of César Chávez Boulevard and Pearl Expressway downtown, from Commerce Street to Live Oak Street, would create a new downtown park -- Carpenter Plaza Park, to be specific, which will unite those three separate parcels into a single three-acre tract (as opposed to the 30 acres envisioned in 2004). Rudy mentioned it again yesterday, since the city council will vote today to authorize a public hearing on the makeover. From today's agenda:
John Carpenter Plaza is currently divided into three separate sections by Pearl Street and Crocket Street, which limits the park's use and function. The City of Dallas Public Works Department has designed roadway improvements for the Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Pearl Expressway Project. This project requires certain park areas to be dedicated for street purposes to facilitate the roadway improvements, totaling approximately 16,432 square feet of land. Through a separate Council Action, certain portions of Pearl Street and Crockett Street will be closed, vacated and dedicated as park land, totaling approximately 32,891 square feet of land. As a result, John Carpenter Plaza will increase in size by approximately 16,459 square feet to 3.03 acres.
The subject came up last night when I spoke with Park and Rec's second-in-command about something very unrelated, which I'll get to in a while. But, Winters said, the new Carpenter Plaza Park is such a big deal for the city that it will necessitate a wholesale redo of the 2004 Downtown Parks Master Plan -- especially, he said, Pacific Plaza, for which the acquisition of land was no easy feat. He said a "private partner" will be brought in for the do-over.

"We're very excited about it," Winters said. "We'll focus in on a specific site in the Farmers Market and the West End. Whereas the original plan in '04 had 18 potential sites identified, we'll focus in on what has already happened, including Main Street Garden and Belo Garden. The original plan focused in on multiple sites. One of them was a gateway park from Carpenter all the way north to the Arts District, and a lot of the land we lost."

Indeed, the Gateway Park, as originally proposed, would have been massive: around 30 acres, which would have made it the largest in downtown by a wide margin. Per the original master plan:
Gateway Park would convert current surface parking lots into a vibrant green foreground to downtown while creating a space for festivals and events and an active community recreation area. The park's prominent location along the northeast corner of downtown presents an opportunity to create a visual 'front door' to the Central Business District with a monumental green space. Pedestrian connections below both the Woodall Rogers Freeway and Central Expressway will attract nearby residents to the park and help surmount the barriers posed by the freeways. Strong links to Bryan Place and to the Uptown neighborhood add an important residential use to the park.
That, of course, was not to be. Hence the need for a new plan.

"We'd also identified four potential sites near the downtown farmers market, and there's been development there and will be more in the future," Winters said. "Now we can focus in on a real site. And, originally, we identified three sites in the West End. It was scattershooting vacant lots that would make good parks. Now we can get specific."

The rewrite, Winters said, is due to begin early in the new year.
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13 comments
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Ellum08
Ellum08

too bad historic buildings will have to bulldozed for the unification of this 'park'.

LauraMiller
LauraMiller

whats more Dallas than bulldozing historic buildings

Myalowtz
Myalowtz

The new page layout is awful.  Just awful.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Is the First Saturday Sidewalk Sale moving to Gateway Park?  Ha!

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I've also heard that there will be a new park on Ross and Hall across from where Los Arcos used to be (it just closed, apparently). Not a downtown park, of course, unless you go by the Downtown Dallas 360 Plan definition of "downtown".

The original Gateway Park sat on land that is someday going to be Two Arts Plaza, the Spire, etc. I'm glad that we got the deck park instead.

HolySheets
HolySheets

Yes there is.It's part of the Icon deal.

Floradora
Floradora

Remember that new and existing parks require maintenance, watering, plants, trash pick-up, security etc. Where does the money come for this? Higher taxes would help but that seems to be in many people's mind the equivalent of the Irish solution.

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

Is there some reason the Woodall Rogers Deck Park isn't on that map? Or am I just missing it?

NotTheSuburbs
NotTheSuburbs

Neither is "Sammons Park" in the arts district.  Oh wait, that's not really a park,

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That map comes from the 2004 Downtown Parks Master Plan. The Woodall Rodgers Deck Park did not pop on anyone's radar screen till November 2004, when The Real Estate Council put $1 million toward a deck park prelim design-feasibility study. The foundation charged with building it wasn't formed till a year after that.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Robert, can you elaborate on this private partnership brought in to develop Pacific Plaza? I remember the Downtown Dallas 360 plan recommending a change in the park but nothing specific. It seems like a good idea due to its proximity to Main Street Garden, but there does need to be a park there, maybe to help redevelop the Tower Petroleum Building.

Noah Jeppson
Noah Jeppson

The existing park across from Tower Petroleum (Aston Park) hasn't done much for the area due to its isolation and minimal maintenance. Incorporating this nice grove of trees into a larger park (part of the original plan) would help to tie that area all together. The recent 360 Plan suggests shrinking the size of this park to allow for new adjacent development, which is probably a good idea given that Main Street Garden is only 2 blocks away. While they revise plans for this park I'd suggest changing the name, since the 1968 "Pacific Plaza" already exists one block east (http://www.flickr.com/photos/d....

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