Dallas' Park Score Keeps Getting Worse

Categories: Park and Rec

Trust for Public Land
Dallas, we have learned, does a wonderful job of building incredible parks over freeways. On that front, you might credibly say we're world-class. As for providing residents with usable public green space in their neighborhoods, that's a different story.

Dallas' rank on the Trust For Public Land's annual Park Score Index fell again this year, dropping to 36th, down from 21st in 2012 and 26th last year. It's not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, since the number of cities ranked by TPL has expanded from 40 to 60 during that time, but Dallas' actual score -- calculated based on a city's park acreage, park funding, and park access -- has dropped as well.

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Dallas Park Board Doesn't Want You to Email Them, So Here Are Their Email Addresses

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Justin Terveen
If you were to do a power ranking of city of Dallas governmental bodies, the Park Board would come in third, behind the City Council (obviously) and the City Plan Commission, the whims of which can make or break multimillion dollar development deals.

The Park Board's 15 members are appointed by the City Council and the mayor. They're technically responsible for everything parks-related in the city. Is your neighborhood park not getting mowed? Is the playground equipment decapitating children? The Park Board is, under the city charter, responsible for fixing it. Wondering why the city's swimming pools are so terrible? Or the rec centers? That's the Park Board, too. Want to build a parking garage atop/underneath future parkland? Bulldoze Fair Park? Park Board.

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Meet the Amphicar of White Rock Lake

Categories: Park and Rec

On Sunday afternoon, the Lakewood Advocate's Brittany Nunn was treated to her first glimpse of White Rock Lake's fabled Amphicar. She didn't know that it was an Amphicar -- an amphibious convertible produced produced briefly by a German company during the 1960s -- or that it was fabled, just that cars aren't supposed to go into the water.

Not sure who owns this particular vehicle, which is the same baby blue as Lyndon Johnson's model. There are several floating around North Texas (at least six), the most famous of which is probably the Texas Shark, which is also the only one sponsored by Hooter's and Redneck Heaven.

Now for the important question: Why don't they still make these things?

Plan for Restaurant on White Rock Lake's Boy Scout Hill Is Dead

Categories: Park and Rec

Save Boy Scout Hill, via Facebook
Pro tip: Don't mess with the people of White Rock Lake. No matter how good your plans for providing parking for patrons of that fancy new children's garden or offering high-quality food and drink with a pristine view of the lake may sound in your head, you will lose.

For developers Lyle Burgin and Rick Kopf, the men behind the proposed restaurant at Boy Scout Hill, that lesson sunk in some point after their disastrous public meeting this week. They passed along a brief statement this afternoon announcing that they are formally withdrawing their proposal:

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Dallas Is the "Least Outdoorsy" City in America, Apparently

Categories: Park and Rec

Tin Salamunic
Clearly, the editors of Outside have never met Jim Schutze.
Maybe, just maybe, Dallas has shaken its reputation as the country's worst city for cycling. Bicycling magazine hasn't mentioned it in a couple of years, anyway.

The city has, however, earned another not-so-welcome distinction. It's the "least outdoorsy" city in America, according to Outside magazine. We are, apparently, less outdoorsy than Cleveland. Less outdoorsy than Detroit. Less outdoorsy than Memphis.

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Coming Soon to Fair Park: Klyde Warren Park-Style Programming, and Maybe Some Yoga

Categories: Park and Rec

If Klyde Warren Park has proved one thing, it's that if you make a formerly blemished urban space sufficiently cool and attractive, people will do yoga there. Other things, too. The point is, the people will come.

The folks who run Fair Park have taken note. Last year, as part of the ongoing effort to draw visitors, officials with the city's parks department approached the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation asking for a little help.

"We were just seeing if there was any interest on their part or any efficiencies that could be got doing joint programs," says Fair Park director Daniel Huerta.

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Dallas' New Strategy For Revitalizing Fair Park: Bike Sharing

Categories: Park and Rec

Whatever "dramatic ideas" Dallas' new task force will propose to revitalize Fair Park now that the summer amusement park has gone belly up are still months, if not years, away.

In the meantime, the city is moving forward with smaller initiatives aimed at attracting visitors to the park. Key among these is Mayor Mike Rawlings' "Turn on the Lights" program, which got $1.4 million in funding in the current budget. It's gone mostly unnoticed because there's not been much to notice. So far, it's been spent mostly on doing things like running the fountains every day and literally turning on the lights to make Fair Park a slightly more inviting place.

It will be more difficult to ignore the next item on the agenda: Dallas' first bike-share program. The Park Board will decide on Thursday whether to give the nonprofit Friends of Fair Park up to $125,000 to make it happen.

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The Texas Horse Park Hasn't Been Built, And Thieves Are Already Plundering It

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the Texas Horse Park, one of the many baubles approved by voters 15 years ago as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, wasn't very well conceived. If the unwillingness of donors to chip in private funds wasn't proof that a fancy equestrian center in the wilds of southern Dallas wasn't a good idea, then maybe the constantly scaled-back vision, or the fact that the city wound up contracting with an accused horse abuser to run the place, should have given pause.

The same could be said for the tens of thousands of dollars of equipment that's been damaged or gone missing since construction began last summer.

According to Dallas police reports, thieves made at least three visits to 811 Pemberton Hill road last month and stole more than $15,000 worth of equipment from the nonprofit that will oversee operation of the horse park and its contractors.

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Klyde Warren Park's Ice Rink Opens Friday

Categories: Park and Rec

Danny Hurley
Anyone visiting Klyde Warren Park over the the weekend -- and judging by the crowd at 10 a.m. on Sunday, attendance bordered on nonexistent -- would have been struck by how closely the unbroken white sheet resembled an ice rink. Ironic, given park officials' promise of an actual ice rink, which increasingly seemed like it would go unfulfilled.

The skating rink was initially scheduled to debut early last month, but as the promised opening neared, park officials pushed the date back indefinitely, hedging and equivocating with the agility of a politician who's broken a promise but doesn't want to admit it.

Turns out, our skepticism was unwarranted. Officials announced this morning that the 32-by-100-foot rink, which will be made of a synthetic ice called Super-Glide, will open on the Great Lawn on Friday.

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Dallas Wants to Build a $20-Million Trail From White Rock to I-20 (Video)

Click to enlarge
Right now, Dallas has right around 100 miles of hike and bike trails and counting. That's impressive. Less so is their arrangement. They are, with a few notable exceptions, disconnected, less a cohesive network than a collection of self-contained pathways from nowhere to nowhere.

The city of Dallas and the Trinity Trust want to change that, and they want to do it in a big way. On Monday, the City Council's transportation committee will be briefed on the Trinity Forest Spine Trail, a massive, $20-million effort stretching 17.5 miles from White Rock Lake to Interstate 20 and hooking up with several existing and planned trails along the way.

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