The Battle of Winfrey Point is an Opportunity for the Dallas Arboretum to Prove it Likes Plants

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Hey, Dallas Arboretum: Do you really not see how this is shaping up? You have one of two things staring you in the face. A great opportunity. Or a well-deserved black eye.

You are in court this very moment, hauled there by citizens trying to stop your plans to decimate a rare patch of virgin blackland prairie at Winfrey Point near White Rock Lake by using it as an overflow parking lot for yet another of your big-big, fake-looking, Yellow Brick Road plant shows.

The crowds you draw are so huge you probably can't even see around them to the even bigger crowds of people who save a hundred bucks and stay away. I will get in major trouble at my house for saying this -- I live with one of your greatest fans -- but I try to be in the stay-away crowd whenever I can get away with it. Because the Dallas Arboretum, for me, has nothing to do with plants, flowers or gardens.

It's all outdoor super-luxe decoration -- a show-offy Park Cities estate on steroids and meth. When I do get dragged there to do a Bataan-march through the endless banks of screaming colors, I look around and think, "Wow, you can really do a lot if you're willing to salt the earth with chemicals."

It turns me off. I look at all that weirdly over-blown growth and remember experiments I read about years ago where they dosed plants with Thalidomide. The colors always make me expect to turn a corner and encounter a chorus of Munchkins emerging from beneath huge plastic petals.

Like I say, I am out-voted on this big-time at home and usually bite my tongue. But, Arbo, this plan of yours to kill an enormously rare and valuable natural asset just so you can book more tickets is going to be all the proof anybody ever needed.

Press ahead with this, and I promise that your profile in the community is going to take on a decidedly nasty edge. That's no threat from me. I suspect I will have to go back to tongue-biting for a long time after this little ditty hits the pixels.

It's people. That's who you should be worried about. People know. People care. People out there are beginning to really understand plants, gardening and the natural life cycle. They know what you do is all Chem 101. Now it's like you want to hammer home the point.

Here's a chance to take another fork in the road, the one with a sign pointing to "Real Life." Think about it. The Emerald City was cool, but even Dorothy had to get back to Kansas after a while.

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ST Paul Tree Removal
ST Paul Tree Removal

 I've used stump removal companies. Removal of the stump can be slightly more difficult on your own. You have several choices; you can rent out a stump chipper that will completely destroy the visible section of the stump. Or you can spend countless hours digging it out. Digging out the stump is much more thorough, but takes forever. If you have kids this shouldn't be a problem.

ST Paul Tree Removal
ST Paul Tree Removal

I've used stump removal companies. Removal of the stump can be slightly more difficult on your own. You have several choices; you can rent out a stump chipper that will completely destroy the visible section of the stump. Or you can spend countless hours digging it out. Digging out the stump is much more thorough, but takes forever. If you have kids this shouldn't be a problem.

Danny
Danny

Why not just turn the right lane on the southbound side of Garland Rd into parallel parking?  Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping Winfrey Point from becoming a parking lot, it seems like it'd also be a heck of a lot cheaper as no new asphalt would be needed.

Madmonk
Madmonk

 I can't believe they would even THINK of ruining that spot. I go there all the time. It's deplorable. Obscene. Insane. I have no respect for them anymore for even considering it.

H20 Blues
H20 Blues

How much water does the Arboretum use each month to keep its non-perennial, non-native flowers looking so lush?  I can't find the amount anywhere on their website and, after last summer's drought, it would seem to be important information that should be easily accessible.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Ask Sheffie to get you that number. It's his job and he can get it if you demand it.

mamasusie
mamasusie

I'm surprised no one has brought up Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi.  So perfect:They took all the treesAnd put them in a tree museumAnd they charged all the peopleA dollar and a half to see 'emDon't it always seem to goThat you don't know what you've gotTill it's goneThey paved paradiseAnd they put up a parking lot

Bubba
Bubba

Dallas is a city of car addicts. We insist on having our "nature" neatly sanitized, technofied, wi-fi enabled and within easy walking distance of a parking lot for our fuel-efficient SUVs. Even the Dallas environmentalist types can't protest this arboretum travesty without getting in their cars, driving to it and parking in someone else's neighborhood.

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

Jim, you and I are in complete agreement on this. The Arboretum is not nature. It is plants forced to do what people want. 

Personally, I would love to have the place turned over to a renowned permaculturist so it can be used to grow food for the poor.

billmarvel
billmarvel

Neither is an arboretum a nature preserve. Arboretums are to plants what zoos are to animals. Most arboretums have  wide-ranging displays of tropicals, beds of crowd-pleasing flowers, some natural settings (often transplanted from elsewhere and cultivated).Outrage over our arboretum's mow-and-park policy should not should not lead us down the garden path of fantasy.    

BlakeStrange
BlakeStrange

It's not even for selling more tickets.  It's for booking more rich people's weddings and corporate events...that's where they're running themselves out of parking.

rpm
rpm

Screw it.  Just add some waterslides and start charging $50 each and be done with it.  With a little effort we can make WR look just like North Arlington.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

So when is somebody from the council going to get brave enough to put forth a motion to get rid of Mary Suhm?She is at the center of all of these recent disasters.

2TX
2TX

Just got an email from 'savewinfreypoint' as they head out there to protest in front of the mowers. They are asking for Dallas residents to come out now.

billmarvel
billmarvel

Once again, Jim, you've muddied an important point -- Winfrey Point is great; leave it the hell alone -- with an attack on what you conceive to be upper-class culture. Is your purpose to curry favor with a certain class of reader or to make arguments that really count?   

Liz
Liz

Way to go, Carboretum! The only green you like is money.

Fazzy
Fazzy

I am disappointed that Dallas could lose one of it's only gems.  If want your voice heard to save Winfrey Point please, sign and pass it along. http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

mbcrain
mbcrain

If you disagree with the Dallas Arboretum's wicked choice to mow rare prairie for parking, may I suggest using your sway with their corporate sponsors?  Here's a link to the Arboretum's website which shows their extensive list of sponsors.  Please call them and tell them to stop this action. 

http://www.dallasarboretum.org...

edg
edg

Rest assured that some of the sponsors did not know about this plan when they signed on and are communicating displeasure to the arboretum. It's very upsetting.

SAVE WINFREY POINT!!!!!
SAVE WINFREY POINT!!!!!

Magreene, YOU are wrong!  The inspriation you gleaned for container planting can be found online, in mags, and at Calloways. "JIM" is spot on. Go, Jim!  I used to try to get my horticulturist husband to go for the sake of our young kids, but he feels exactly the same as you.

The Chihuly exhibit is cool, saw it last week.  My son and I were sickened at the destruction of the remaing natural areas of the Arboretum to make way for the Children's Garden.  Even the roll down hill by the ampitheatre has been chopped smaller.  With all of the trees and cane gone and the new parking lot addition at the Camp House, that whole section of the garden is opened up to see the buildings and cars along Garland Road.  The noise from traffic was disturbing.  We were very disheartened. 

And this week, learning of the plans to DESTROY Winfrey Point? TOO MUCH!!!!! :(  

Losing Winfrey Point is CRIMINAL!!!!! 

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

The last spring time I was there and parking was packed they had shuttle service from the business/mall down the street.    The mall and parking are still there so what is the Arb's problem?    Is even that one filled too?

Magreene
Magreene

Jim, you are really, really, really, really wrong on this one. But you are absolutely right about one thing: You are in big trouble. The Winfrey Point issue aside, DABS has plenty to learn from. I was there just yesterday, for a preview of the Chihuly exhibit, which you did not even know is the reason for the need for extra parking. I made numerous notes about ideas for container gardens and marveled at the hard work the Hort staff has devoted to make the garden impressive looking to the new visitors from all over a five-state region they expect to be drawn in to see the magnificent Chihuly pieces.

Then there are the classes held almost every weekend for EDUCATION purposes.

Yes, the restored prairie is invaluable. It also represents years of hard work and gnashing of teeth at city hall to get it restored. I hope, as do thousands, that the city will come up with an alternative. They must.

Meanwhile, you, Jim Schutze, will be having crow for supper.

JimS
JimS

Oh, crow for dinner again! Chips and pickle with that as usual! Crow, as you know, is my comfort food. Only thing is ... you do remember, I hope, how a mouthful of savory crow rekindles my insatiable appetite for songbird wings.

mamasusie
mamasusie

Okay, you two.  Flirting on a public forum. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Don't forget the nacho cheese.

ThatGuy
ThatGuy

They are mowing it right now.  Maybe Schutze will share his crow with you.  Don't ever count on this city coming up with an alternative to cars and the smug exercise of power.

richard schumacher
richard schumacher

Notice the roller coaster going up on their new playground?  Perhaps as someone else has  suggested they should change their name to "Six Flags Over White Rock".  

They must build a parking garage and operate shuttles to remote parking.  Destroying part of White Rock for a parking lot is unacceptable.

footmeetazz
footmeetazz

Caraway did say it was Dallas' Disneyland.

EFL
EFL

So they are at Winfrey Point mowing right now. Time to pull/cancel Arboretum memberships. Clearly all they care about is money.

Montemalone
Montemalone

They need to get some of those train/trolley things like Six Flags has to bus people to the gates from remote parking. There's probably a deal to be made with the offices and hospital up at Buckner to use parking on weekends, or the other direction down Grand.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Give me the Cedar Ridge Preserve or the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge any day 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Theres an excellent lot right around the corner currently being taken up by a Mexican cowboy bar and a chicken joint, why hasnt the parks dept. looked at procuring the property for a teardown/ lot/garage build??

Alfredo
Alfredo

I think that lot has been used in the past

Mike
Mike

 I actually wish some retail would move back in there, it used to be a pretty nice little spot with a Winn Dixie being the anchor store, but it's been mostly vacant for years now. They've been trying in the area across the street from it but no shops seem to last very long unfortunately.

Phil
Phil

That area was just purchased by a developer, and is currently used for overflow parking.  That is, in part, why there is a parking problem.

But I bet you didn't know that the Arboretum bought an old trailer park across Garland Road on the north side of the Arboretum (exactly where the entrance to the Children's Garden will be).  The original plan was to build a garage there, but instead it has been made into a single level surface lot for employee parking only.  Still trying to figure out why your Park Department decided it was preferable to pave over part of the White Rock Park instead of using an exisitng lot that is actually closer to the Arborteum.

Montemalone
Montemalone

 Lincoln Property has it. The Y is looking to move up Gaston, then the whole thing gets redeveloped. Probably some new grocery store and assorted retail/restaurant. I'm guessing they're gonna need a parking structure of some sort to maximize use of the land.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

What stops the Arboretum from exploring a private/public partnership with the new development? It might allow for more retail space for Lincoln if they develop it such that part of their parking garage is shared with the Arboretum.

Mike
Mike

 Excellent, been waiting a while for someone to rejuvenate that area.

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

If you've ever been to Europe and traveled through England to look at some really stunning National Trust Garden Treasures like  Stourhead, Biddulph Grange, Hidcote Manor or Kingston Lacy gardens you would see how it is really done.

Now, I'm aware these are mostly on estates that sometimes are hundreds of years old in a climate more forgiving than Texas...but we could learn a thing or two from these good stewards of the natural environment.

The Arboretum to me has always appeared to big The Six Flags of Gardens, Weddings and cheap forms of day care for children of all ages.

Perhaps there's room for that...but the Joni Mitchell Big Yellow Taxi reference seems apt here.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

The Aboretum actually was created from the original DeGoyler Estate as a gift to the city.  Only in the last decade has it become a theme park.  I'm thinking the DeGoyler's might be crying in their graves.

Hughs198
Hughs198

I miss the old Degolyer place...many of the trees have been removed before their time, as well as the beautiful cane breaks we used to occasionally lose a frisbee in while playing at the best place for disc golf there was.

Anon
Anon

I think the Dallas Observer libtards need to make up their minds about what they envision when they see Dallas in the future. Sometimes they want urban mecca where density is king, sometimes they apparently don't. Green space in Dallas is not in short supply for things like little Johnny's baseball games.

billmarvel
billmarvel

What's a libtard and what does he have to do with this?

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Lower taxes, when we stop paying for this kind of shit. Or maybe public pools that are open all summer. Or normal library funding. Or one less tiresucking pot hole in front of Liz Baron's house on Preston Road.

Monday - Friday, when there is no show, do you know what the Arboretum Parking lot is? Empty.

Liesl
Liesl

 " If you look around beyond that, they are very good stewards of trees and plants..."

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, man, I needed that laugh today. Good stewards don't cut down huge trees to build a plastic play ground. HTH. 

Phelps
Phelps

"Shaddup, kid!  Go look at those weeds and like it!  It's natural! And rare!"

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

The city, the park board, and the Arboretum board should be ashamed of their lack of transparency and honesty concerning this issue, and the board members should be removed for abandoning their mission.  The mission of the Arboretum was never to be a money-minting theme park.  I hope the neighbors lawyers tar and feather them.

Jim Schutze
Jim Schutze

I can find a 2010 list of board members if I Google it, but I can't find my way to the board at all through the Arboretum home page. Maybe I just need to be more patient and give it another hour or two.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Here's the link to the board members on the Arboretum site, although the Chairman here is not the older frumpy-looking Parkie I saw on the 10pm news last night purporting to be the Chair.http://www.dallasarboretum.org...

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