White Rock Boathouse Gets OK. Finally, Jim Can Join the 1 Percent.

Categories: Schutze

Yesterday the Dallas Park Board approved plans for a new rowing club boathouse on White Rock Lake. It's going to be right in the way of my yacht when I'm trying to get in and out of there, and I'm worried about spilling my Champagne.

See also:
- Now We Have to Build a Boat House on White Rock Lake? Is the Park Not Good Enough?
- The Dallas Arboretum's Winfrey Point-Attacking Botanist Had a Rough Weekend

We've talked about this before. The former Highland Park Rowing Club, now rechristened "Dallas United," is going to build a big floating clubhouse at the north end of White Rock Lake. The project took a bad turn early on when city park officials tried to slip the whole thing past the public the same way they did with the idea of turning a green space on the shore of the lake into a parking lot for the Dallas Arboretum.

Meet the new Jim.
Apparently the rowing club was able to avail itself of some smarter public relations strategy than the Arboretum got: It held a pretty good community meeting last August that laid to rest some of the worst fears of groups and individuals devoted to protecting the lake from over-development.

The takeaway from the rowing club meeting was that the city's own park department had secretly encouraged the rowing club to turn its boathouse into a nightclub so the city could skim some nice rents off it. The rowing club didn't want to be a nightclub, and it was only too happy to ditch that idea and pull its plans back down to more modest dimensions.

But don't get the idea the protectors of White Rock Lake have been lulled into a Sleeping Beauty slumber over this thing. Lake defenders Hal and Ted Barker, who were the first to discover the rowing club's boathouse plans some months ago, just sent out a broadcast email showing examples of what the clubhouse may look like when it's built, which they described as "a bunch of tall dick-like things that stick out of the muck."

They do not answer the question: But is that a good thing?

The Barkers have raised a number of potential areas of concern with the plans including the possibility of dredging and drilling in a sensitive area of the lake. They have made it plain that they will be watching this entire process closely.

Oh, the yacht. Yes, in the spirit of full disclosure, I informed readers at one point that I belong to a boat club right next to the future site of the proposed rowing club. As far as I know, the boat club I belong to, White Rock Boat Club, supports the rowing club's plans. I have not been been consulted on these matters, because I am not consulted on any matters.

Some commenters have suggested my ownership of a 30-year-old 14-foot boat makes me a plutocrat -- an accusation with which I have never dealt before. But I like it. Really. I like the feel.

And so, yes, I would encourage you to think of me wearing a little white captain's hat with a back bill and gold braid on the front, sitting on the poop deck sipping Champagne while my crew takes me out for a sail. I imagine myself with a bullhorn shouting at all of the damned kayakers and stand-up paddle-boarders: "Get your 47-percent asses out of my way right now!"

Isn't that how it's done? I am unfamiliar but eager to learn. Call me Pluto-Jim.

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Since we’re enumerating facts concerning the Dallas United Crew, here are a couple to consider.


FACT: The Dallas United Crew is an elite organization servicing a very limited number of kids at a significant out of pocket expense to each member

FACT: The organization has no history, or current plan, regarding outreach programs to the disabled, veterans, or troubled youth

FACT: The suggested location for the facility is at an environmentally sensitive area of the Lake

FACT: This location all ready experiences heavily traffic from bikes, joggers, walkers, as well as car traffic going to Big Thicket and Corinthian Yacht Club

FACT: Dallas Park & Recreation Department has no plan for the additional traffic or needed infrastructure (roads, parking, lighting) this facility would require

FACT: The East Lawther Trail Plan, developed by P&R and first presented publicly in May of 2012 (long after discussions with DUC had begun,) does not show, or incorporate, the DUC facility or needed infrastructure additions

FACT: At the May presentation mention of the Dallas United Crew plan was termed “not relevant to this discussion” by the Park Board member leading the meeting

FACT: The White Rock Task Force voted a “motion of support” on October 4, 2011, after only being shown an initial concept drawing. That vote was contingent on specific alterations being made

FACT: In the ensuing year the Dallas United Crew has not once appeared before the Task Force with revised plans for final approval

FACT: The White Rock Task Force was supplied Contract Deal Points by Park & Recreation ONE DAY PRIOR to the Park & Recreation vote approving moving forward (Considering the last 5 FACTS can’t imagine why some would consider this “Return of Winfrey Point”)

FACT: Contract deal points lay out a BAD BUSINESS DEAL for the Park and its Citizens – Estimated City revenue $150,0000 over 20 years (that’s $7,500 per year); gives away naming right revenues (According to DUC website it’s looking to generate over $4 MILLION in naming rights. Smacks of a smaller version of America Airlines Center); relinquishes all potential vendor contracts including for the first time ABILITY TO SELL ALCOHOL within a City park (alcohol sales always become a major source of income for establishments)

FACT: Contract deal points lay out a BAD DEAL for White Rock Park – No contractual obligation to repair Park damage due to construction (estimated, based on similar structures, over 200 MILLION pounds of concrete alone and its got to be stored somewhere); sole road for construction vehicles is not adequate for the project and again no obligation to repair if damaged; additional NEW parking lot in DUC plan (not indicated in East Lawther Plan) taking more Park land; more strain on an environmentally sensitive area in the Park; dredging and silt mitigation will become an issue based on similar type structures


Bottom line – Is it worth giving up this portion of the Park to a group that will engage a limited number of people, especially considering both the limited monetary return as well as the environmental degradation?


Considering the large number of “undefineds” attached to the current contractual points, coupled with the P&R Department’s lack of additional infrastructure planning, should we really consider supporting moving forward until “all the ducks are in a row?”


Park and Recreation again, like with Winfrey Point, engages in a process that excludes public criticism and participation. Why do I say that? At the last public meeting DUC held how many City of Dallas employees, Park and Recreation employees, or Park Board members were there? ZERO! Hard for an opposition voice to be heard when there’s no one home!


At the minimum, Councilman Kadane and the Dallas City Council should table this discussion indefinitely until more detail, planning, and public input are allowed to occur.


Jim, I look forward to seeing you out on your yacht wearing your gold embroidered hat. Do you have any Grey Poupon?


I'd like to provide a bit more information and clear up a few (certainly unintentional) misstatements.


Fact: There are no plans to have "tall dick-like things that stick out of the muck" (aka piers). There are a variety of floating systems and the one that is best for this boathouse does not use piers - it is a chain and anchor system. Avoiding piers that rise above the deck is necessary to be able to launch and retrieve 60 foot long rowing shells. This was specifically covered in both the March and July public meetings by the architect and all renderings show a building with no above-deck piers.


Fact: Because the boathouse will float the rise and fall of the lake will not affect it. The boathouse will be located in water that repeated measurements over the last year have shown to be at least 8 feet deep when the lake is at its lowest level and deeper at other times. The building will need no more than 4 feet of water to float, and even if it settles on the silt it will not be damaged.


Fact: There will be no wastewater discharge into the lake. The wastewater system will have a perestatic pump to move waste back to land and into the city sewage system. This is a design commonly used at marinas.


Fact: The contract has the same language in it as the contract for the older (White Rock) boathouse. There will no more be a bar at the DUC boathouse than there is at the old boathouse or at the sailing clubs.


Fact: There was never any attempt by DUC or the City of Dallas to "slip the whole thing past the public". DUC met multiple times with the White Rock Lake Task Force, the first meeting having taken place over a year ago. The Task Force is made up of at least 37 members who represent area residents, White Rock Lake area entities such as the sailings clubs, the Bathhouse Cultural Center, the Dog Park and others. The charter of the task force includes the responsibility to communicate between the City and the member groups.


Further, the statement that the rowing team's boathouse plans were "discovered" by lake defenders is simply inaccurate. At least 80 people attended the March public meeting at Winfrey Point where the proposal was discussed in detail. This was months prior to the supposed "discovery".


Fact: There was a great deal in input from members of the White Rock Lake Task Force and the resulting design is highly reflective of the input that these folks gave.


Fact: There is no need nor are there any plans to dredge any portion of the lake as part of the construction of the boathouse.


Fact: The boathouse is being designed to be LEED certified. LEED certification requires, among other things, that the building design and construction follow industry best practices to protect the environment. It's worth noting that this adds cost to the project and that all costs are being borne by the DUC, not the City.



"...tall dick-like things that stick out of the muck."  Funny, I don't see those in the Dallas United renderings you previously posted.  Ted/Hal - maybe you should stick to complaining about changes at the lake and give up the self-appointed boathouse design job.   But try to stick to the facts and stop spreading obviously false information.


The contract is signed over the well-known objections by citizens who had no voice in the meetings at the Park Board.  Slam dunk!   We love to watch rowers, great sport, but just like Winfrey Point and the Sunset Bay, football field sized, greenhouse, this was pushed through.  Another top down Park Board / City of Dallas decision.  The contract calls for alcohol sales and concerts. The already well-used E. Lawther sector will be stressed even more.


scottindallas topcommenter

unrelated, but there's no more appropriate thread to post this.  We found a case of voter fraud!!!


The Rockingham County Sheriff's office has arrested a Pennsylvania man and charged him with attempting to throw away filled out voter registration forms.

Colin Small, 31 year old male from Phoenixville, PA has been charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in connection with the controversy. He is employed by Pinpoint, a company that was hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to help with voter registration




At the end of the long project it is still going to be located at WHITE ROCK LAKE.

A Fancy Boat ramp and CLUB HOUSE at that lake only shows how screwed the folks want it are because of where they live .And this is the best they could do .

I won't  envy what they will have.

I will be sad for them because they think that it will be cool.


ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

"... just sent out a broadcast email showing examples of what the clubhouse may look like when its built, which they described as "a bunch of tall dick-like things that stick out of the muck." ... "


I didn't realize that the tides were that large on WRL ....


@Dallas_Observer @jimschutze tell him to tweet more!



 Gary, this is more information in your email than anything seen this last year.


Get us all together with Sheffie Kadane and Max Wells and Mayor Rawlings and let's have at it.



 45. millions and the conversation in the committee mtg was for expansion, of parking where no lot exists on the other side of E. Lawther, meaning the trees at Big Thicket, yep. Oh, when asked, by Barbara Kindig and Wayne Smith, about expansion, the architect said already planned for expansion.  So, the citizens get more and no discussion about opposition.  Go figure, eh?



 Adult;  the DUC Highland Park operation is a membership only deal. The rowing director told us the membership is $3,000.00 per person, per year.  Public access is by presenting an open wallet, oh, with greenbacks inside. They do not have disabled programs, I asked in open meeting. While at the other end of the lake, a fully engaged adaptive rowing program exists.



You have to realize if we didn't have the Chicago Style politics that the  HP UP Bubble people whine about in in Washington we wouldn't have most of  the useless shit that is going on here

As for the skilful slight of hand it took to pull all of this off ?

Not much of a surprise there either .

Harold Hill has come to town again. This time hes left behind Lake improvements





 @tbarker1 Ted, your are clearly not much of a listener. I was at the same public meeting as you in August. What the rowing coach said was that the high school competitive travel team cost $3000 per year. He also said that their new middle school program would cost $350 per student, and that this program was the model for their future programs - low cost, high accessibility.


They won't have programs for the disabled until they get the building built. That makes sense to me - how do you expect them to have the equipment in place without a building? And I would note that the "other" boathouse didn't set up such a program until they heard about DUC's plans in the March public meeting and that they'd had 5 years to create such a program but had never bothered to until someone else came up with the idea.


I would also note that at the August meeting both you and your brother stood up and stated your support for the new boathouse, saying it was good for the community. That's at least one statement of yours I can agree with.


You would have a lot more credibility if you didn't cherry pick statements that supported a slanted agenda of keeping you in the limelight. As it is you're beginning to seem a bit pathetic.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @scottindallas Pretty amazing especially considering that WRL is a constant level lake.  I suppose if there were to be the 1,000 year flood event then the lake level would rise by about 10+ feet.


And then with our droughts, I suppose that if we had several years of back to back rainfall deficits of 10+ inches then the lake level could drop 10+ feet ....


 @scottindallas  @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul

 Scott, the more recent flood maps show min of 12.  The best bet is for planning 14'. Why, the structure will have kitchen, toilets, plumbing for waste water.  Don't want that in the lake.



 WRLLover: I guess I missed the 350.00 sector of the presentation.


Now, I said I supported rowing on the lake, not the DUC boathouse.


I have no interest in limelight, just getting the City to create a transparent contracting and development policy.  If I get quoted, that means there is some interest in what I say.


Get us an equal voice at City Hall Board Meetings and you and I can battle it out. Until then....



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