The Dallas Arboretum No Longer Wants the City to Turn Winfrey Point into a Parking Lot

arboretum-2_opt.jpg

Update 12:45 p.m.: City spokesman Frank Librio sends word that, on second thought, there is plenty of parking available for the Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum and no need to mow Winfrey Point.

Attendance numbers for the current exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum appear to be within the facility's ability to manage parking flow with existing on-site parking and existing overflow parking options. However, parking challenges at the Arboretum and at White Rock Lake still exist and long term solutions will be addressed as both locations increase in popularity. For the time being, the temporary parking option at Winfrey Point will not be exercised. The City will continue to seek long term solutions that will balance increasing trail use, special events, and all recreational uses with adequate traffic management and parking options.

Original post: Score one for the little people. The Dallas Arboretum sends word this morning that Winfrey Point, the postage stamp of virgin grassland (or invasive weeds, if you prefer) that's been at the center of a recent legal and botanical imbroglio, won't be mowed for parking after all.

The move comes after a grassroots protest campaign from left-wing pinko environmentalists who take the completely outrageous view that, hey, there's a shit-ton of concrete in Dallas. Why not park there?

According to the release, the Arboretum "has heard the opinions of its friends and neighbors and recognizes any plans to temporarily park at Winfrey Point have resulted in serious misunderstandings that need to be addressed." Translation: "We really didn't realize what a PR disaster this would be. Forget we said anything."

The fight may march on, both in court and at the Point, as neighbors try to get to the bottom of a consultant's report that suggested a permanent parking structure at Winfrey Point. But the city has said it has no intentions of building such a thing, and Arboretum chairman Brian Shivers told Unfair Park this week that, basically, no one ever thought that was a good idea.

The full release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mary Brinegar
Chief Executive Officer & President
Dallas Arboretum

DALLAS (May 9, 2012)
- On Tuesday, May 8, the leadership of the Dallas Arboretum asked Paul Dyer, Dallas Park and Recreation Department director; Joan Walne, Dallas Park Board president; Councilman Sheffield Kadane, City Council District 9; and Gerry Worrall, District 9 Park Board not to proceed with current plans to mow the previously approved area at Winfrey Point.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Arboretum has heard the opinions of its friends and neighbors and recognizes any plans to temporarily park at Winfrey Point have resulted in serious misunderstandings that need to be addressed. We are committed to being a good neighbor and steward to the citizens of East Dallas, the metroplex and all of North Texas.

We are looking forward to working with city officials and neighborhood associations in the immediate future to develop a plan that best serves the interest of all parties involved. It is our pledge to endeavor to make such planning transparent.

Thank you for your patience while we work to find a solution to the City's and our parking needs.



Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
49 comments
Rob Lew
Rob Lew

move the lake to Fair Park...plenty of available parking there!

watchingsouthdetroit
watchingsouthdetroit

I hope the people of this area will remember their city council member who did nothing while this was going on.  I don't even know who this was since he/she was hiding out hoping to avoid this issue by doing nothing.

ST Paul Tree Removal
ST Paul Tree Removal

 Thus Paul's approach creates a whole new funding stream for government, with the necessity (opportunity, actually) to issue new interest-free money to balance and match the new wealth creation in the private sector. Thus, eliminating taxes does not reduce the government funding base. It actually increases it in an amazing way!

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

LITTLE OLD LADIES MARCHING ABOUT IN TENNIS SHOES....OCCUPY ARBORETUM MOVEMENT.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

Replying To Scott below., thanks for keeping everyone accurate on this Scott. I believe there is a spot of unplowed land over by the Bathhouse, and that I think has been recognized as blackland prairie. This is a pretty scenic spot and shouldn't be destroyed for that reason alone. 

As far as endangered, I've read a number of places that consider true blackland prairie endangered because such a small percentage of the original remains. 

There's Parkhill Prairie in Collin County, Clymer Meadow, owned by Nature Conservancy. 

Thanks for your work on native plants and for keeping this conversation honest.

Suzi T
Suzi T

One battle won does not mean the war is over. I'm afraid this issue will come up again and again until one side just gives up. Don't let it be us -

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

How disappointing.  Having gotten rid of the last of those awful trees I was looking forward to the Abortreum doing something about the nasty grasses and birds.  Now we'll have to wait. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

That is NOT "Virgin grassland"  don't characterize it as such.  It's a little project that is barely 10 years old.  It's not contiguous to other grassland.  I don't want parking on the grass, but you mischaracterize the site.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Glad to see this has so far worked out.  Has anyone looked into the possibility of adding the Winfrey prairie on to the protected prairie at Flagpole Hill?  According to world wildlife fund, the prairie at flagpole hill is officially protected at some level.  One would think it would be a rather simple leap of logic to connect the two.

Glenn03a
Glenn03a

I like " Don't Tread on my Bottoms".

Tedbartker
Tedbartker

From the vigil: we knocked on Sunset Bay office bright and early while DPD cruisers kept passing by (for the second day). The DPD prescence did not deter the babies, teen home-schooled, mom's and other assorted concerned people from waving and showing our signs. Several dozen appeared as they have since Friday week.

Know this; only Round One of how many rounds they wish to stumble back to center ring and face the home-owners, cyclists, runners, dog walkers and genuine old people who want E. Lawther from end to end to be left as a pastoral experience for decades to come.  Hey Mayor Rawlings NO, can you hear me now?

Purple Cone Flower
Purple Cone Flower

Perhaps we can DPDDFD to the ARB.  We can have Dallas Police and Fire shuttle citizens of the surrounding are to the Arboretum via city vehicles for a fee.  Would provide a revenue stream for the Police and Fireman's Pension fund as they will teeter on the brink of bankruptcy when Museum Tower remains vacant or becomes section eight due to that whole cf.

Paul
Paul

The picture above says it all.  You don't mess with Grandma!

Now then, we need to recruit her for getting the Trinity Floodway Toll Road killed.

Hmmm, I like that name.  Let's all start calling it the "Trinity Floodway Toll Road".

JimS
JimS

Boy, I have a different take. The thing I thought I saw developing at the Arboretum was, as some other commenters have suggested, Trinity River syndrome -- chin out, screw you, give it your best shot, we ain't budging ever never ever you ignorant slut hippies. I think this change of direction  deserves some serious kudos. It really is not easy for people to take a turn like this when the lights are all on them. Sure, it's not over, because nothing is over ever, totally. But on this one issue at this particular moment, I think you have to say the Arboreturm showed some real respect for the people on the other side, and maybe that ought to be a mutual thing, at least for a couple days. It's kind of like when I told my neighbor once that he wasn't a total ass-hole after all. Man, I had to reach pretty deep for that. No, wait. I think that was the time my wife made me do it. Oh well, same thing. It's what we do that counts, not what we still secretly think.  

Kelly Cotten
Kelly Cotten

Avoid the "We won, we won, now let's go home" Syndrome.  The Open Records discovery and recent P&Z battles indicate this was only the tip of the iceberg of a deeply entrenched and large-scaled plan involving the Arboretum, the City, developers, and most of the east side of the lake.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

That's what happens when you threaten to boycott causing monetary losses to the Arboretum.  Well done protesters and those who were not renewing memberships.

Bob
Bob

WTF? The last month have felt like the Commercial Developers, Mary Suhm and the usual boldfaced names have launched a blitzkrieg on any an all real estate.

Mayor Mike played Neville Chamberlin during his first year in office ("peace in our time"), but now he suddenly acts like Phillippe Patain.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

Memo to Joan Walne: put away your lawn mower, then turn in your resignation letter.

Glenn03a
Glenn03a

WOW....that was easy. Can we do the same for the trinity river bottoms ?

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I say its time the Arboretum into some serious negotiations w/ the property owners of the lot where the Y is located on Gaston to allow parking on weekends...

howl
howl

Stay vigilant, East Dallas! First skirmish to the people, but there is a long war ahead over land use in and around White Rock Lake.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I don't think the Blackland is that endangered generally outside of urban areas.  Rush and company have a point in their concern about the Federal protections of land being abusive.  (I tend to try to take the position of neither opposing or supporting any policy/issue, but wonder how we plan to go about implementing it; though my rhetoric may not reveal this exercise--sometime judge and jury have ruled that only idiocy or sophistry could support some issue.)   I'm skeptical the Blackland Prairie is terrible endangered, as it's invasive itself. 

Kelly Cotten
Kelly Cotten

Scott - I hear you when you say you don't want parking on the grasslands. And I know you're on board for the good fight, for which I thank you. But please let me explain why I am so keen to protect those grasslands.  Let's be fair and accurate.  Winfrey Point represents one of the very, very, very, very few parcels of NEVER-PLOWED blackland prairie left in the US, let alone the state or city --- probably because the slopes and outcropping rocky Austin Chalk substrate made it more suitable for cattle than farmland during most of the early period of post-aboriginal settlement (Spanish, Mexican and American periods).  The absence of plowing is critical to the preservation of true blackland prairie because its soil structure and biological substrate is unique. It takes decades, even centuries to fully establish. Left unbroken, and carefully subjected to actual or analog burnings (i.e., INFREQUENT mowings) and actual or analog bison-generated soil compaction and seed introgression (i.e., OCCASIONAL crowd events or parking), the surface vegetation can regenerate itself surprisingly quickly (a few tens of years) and outcompete invasive non-natives, especially if the most successful non-natives are policed and removed by humans (e.g., the middle-schoolers working at White Rock Lake under the direction of St. John's science teacher Toni Herron or the volunteers working under the umbrella of TPWD and Texas Agri-extension's Master Naturalists program).  There are (depending upon how you count) 3-6 contiguous-to-nearly-contiguous parcels of this never-mowed prairie at Winfrey Point: all have received TPWD's prestigious Land Steward award for just the reasons I mentioned above. To the extent they are not contiguous, it's because they are separated by narrow park roads.  From the perspective of wildlife (insects, reptiles, birds, mammals) that are historically native to these grasslands, that situation qualifies as contiguous.  Similarly, the scores of other acres of identified, carefully managed and award-winning blackland prairie at White Rock Lake would qualify as ecologically contiguous.  These grasslands are home to many typical, native blackland prairie plants (the proportion growing every year since restoration began, according to official surveys) and many typical, native blackland prairie animals (the proportion likewise growing every year).  One of the most significant categories of wildlife found at White Rock Lake are riparian prairie species - those that flourished around the creek pre-20th century before the lake was created.  These animals, above all, depend upon these grasslands and nodes of refuge along the White Rock Creek drainage system as they move back and forth from the tiny remnants of prairie at the creek's sources in Colllin County, along the drainage toward the Trinity River and back again, often spending significant amounts of their lives in the slightly disjunct but ecologically contiguous grasslands around White Rock Lake.  These grasslands might be slightly more valuable than you first thought.

RTGolden
RTGolden

It may not be virgin grassland.  It is undeveloped and unplowed blackland prairie, as far as anyone knows.  That it is not part of a continuous prairie or grassland is irrelevant.  The prairie at Flagpole Hill is less than 1ha in size and it enjoys a protected status.

I'd like to see your sources for declaring it non-virgin grassland.  Do you have old plat maps showing development?  Perhaps an old photo of the area showing it plowed under for cotton?  Maybe you can, like the Arboretum, trot out a retired airline pilot turned amateur botanist, who will declare it a 'patch of weeds'.

There are Master Naturalists, members of the Texas Master Naturalists who have been working and studying this prairie remnant, and they believe it should be protected.

D & J Brown
D & J Brown

Great work, Ted (or, should I say Mr. Pinko!) Hal and everyone!!!!!   

Mickister
Mickister

 I would have liked the grandma in the picture better if her sign said "don't take away my breast exams".

JimS
JimS

"Grandma" up there is Janet Smith. You REALLY don't mess with her. She paddles a mean kayak, man.

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

Compliment the ass because this time we only had to whup it upside the head with a 2x4 twice to get it out of the living room?  Nuts.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

NO JIM the Arboretum said F*CK THIS .....Why do in the light of day what can be done on a consent agenda down the road .

Paul
Paul

 I'd say more like Andre' Maginot ...

Tedbartker
Tedbartker

Yes, now that the gas lease is in the open.

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

A new condo development is planned for that location, so it's soon to be unavailable. But there are many other lots along Garland Road that would suffice. They could also have shuttle buses running from the White Rock DART rail station.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

My thoughts exactly .Somehow I get this from the press release..

We really want that LAND and have no doubts about it We are going to have that land!We expected a Sh*T Storm But We sure as hell didn't expect this kind of SH*T Storm.

BTW the next time you hear about the Land is when the DEAL "OUR DEAL" is Done and there won't be thing one you can do about .

Kelly Cotten
Kelly Cotten

Aaargh. I keep typing "never-before mowed" in lieu of "never-before-plowed".  My apologies.  You'd think I could at least get that right.  Bit of a difference.

scottindallas
scottindallas

It's not Virgin.  Winfrey Point is an old house, that had parking all around it.  It was regularly mowed Bermuda grass.  The current "grassland" is a planted creation that is less than a decade old.  The only one claiming it was "virgin" is this article.  The entire area has been plowed, was zoned for development.  Since this is just a planting, there's nothing sacrosanct about it.  Hell, I do more native plantings week in and week out.  

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

 I PERSONALLY WOULD NEVER EAT ONE OF HER PIES...I DON'T THIINK SHE COOKS.

Tedbartker
Tedbartker

As John Denver said; "Go Grandma".  I have to give Janet her picture. She has not seen it yet.  We were working up a Bend and Snap routine with our signs this morning. I wish I could have done it out front of the Arboretum.

Paul
Paul

 I'll bet she is a real fireball and has a really, really good "mom voice".

JimS
JimS

The asterisk is u.

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

 THEN CEMENT THAT BABY OVER AND PAINT IT GREEN...SAVE THE CITY WATER.

unkempt
unkempt

Scott...thanks for the reminder.  I have been in Dallas thirty years and you are spot on.  I use to cruise white rock back in the day and bike it everyday and friends and I would sun at Winfrey Point and you are exactly right it was a parking lot.  I have not been out there in years since moving to Oak Cliff and did not even know they had ripped out the parking lot and seeded with grasses.  My opinion just changed due to your reminder and memory jog.  It is not native prairie grasslands.  No different than what they did at Belo Gardens which opened today.  Ripped out the parking lot and planted a garden.

scottindallas
scottindallas

You're wrong.  That whole area was Bermuda, I played all over there in the 80's.  This whole planting is but 10 years old.   IT doesn't take that long for prairie to re-establish. Further, the Blackland Prairie is NOT endangered. There's thousands of acres that fit the description you've described. I am quite familiar with reclamation projects where natural springs and other miraculous transformations have occurred in less than a decade.

Don't tell me about the area. I've lived and played there for 30 years. I know the natural areas, and that one part is so novel, I'm not sure I know it. I remember the Bermudagrass field that we played and ran in. There is vast space that is natural near there, North of WR lake, North of Flagpole Hill. Try canoeing up the WR creek, there there's vast areas. Harry Moss protected much of his land. Those are substantial parcels of land, and they support far more wildlife than this man made, decade old "grassland" you're trying to protect. The naturalist herself claims they've reclaimed this area, how do you dare call it unplowed? It was leveled with a bulldozer and roadgrader to make the lot. In fact, the grassland you're talking about used to be a parkinglot and drive.

By the way, I am a landscaper, an advocate of native plants, organic gardener by trade and training. You've confused a reclamation project with native prairie. My cousin is one of the pre-eminent people in the state working on this. Far more important are the vast covered areas along the creeks.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Can we get Janet to take on the DISD school board?What we could accomplish if Janet could muster up an army of other Janets!

Thank you, Janet!

Paul
Paul

 I'm trying to figure out what the five dots mean ... the words I come up with have either 4 letters or six letters ...

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...